Description of the structure and functions of the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa
(a) The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (hereafter the BCCSA) is an independent and self-regulatory body which mediates and adjudicates upon complaints against broadcasters who have accepted its Code of Conduct. The BCCSA consists of a chairperson, deputy chairperson and 11 other commissioners, and administrative staff consisting of a registrar and secretary.
(b) Postal address: PO Box 412365, CRAIGHALL, 2024
Street address: No. 2 Albury Park, Magalieszicht Avenue, DUNKELD WEST, 2196
Phone number: (011) 325 5755
Fax number: (011) 325 5736
Electronic mail address:
(c) Description of the guide referred to in section 10 of the Act
The guide contains information as may reasonably be required by a person who wishes to exercise any right contemplated in the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000 (hereafter PAIA). This guide is available on the website of the Human Rights Commission of South Africa (hereafter HRCSA) at http://www.sahrc.co.za/.
(d) How to lodge a complaint
Complaints received within 30 days of broadcast which are not anonymous, not fraudulent, frivolous, malicious or vexatious can be accepted by the Registrar. The complaint and the grounds must bring the complaint within the ambit of the Code on a prima facie basis. Once this is decided, the broadcaster is requested to either supply the BCCSA with a copy and/or a response. It is then referred to the chairperson for a final decision as to whether it should be entertained by way of adjudication or tribunal. After an adjudicator has reached a decision, an appeal lies to the tribunal if full grounds are given why the first decision could have been incorrect. An application for leave to appeal against a decision of a tribunal may also be lodged. After an appeal tribunal decision, there is a right to take the matter on review to the ICASA. The review is limited to grounds which relate to review in contrast to an appeal. Possible sanctions include a reprimand, a direction calling upon the broadcaster to broadcast a correction and/or a fine of up to R40 000.
How to request access to a record
A request to access a record of the BCCSA may be lodged with the registrar by phoning, writing, faxing or e-mailing the registrar, giving an accurate and detailed description of the record and after paying a request fee of R 40 (forty rands).
Subjects and categories on which the BCCSA holds records
Constitution, including Code of Conduct, of the BCCSA;
- procedure for lodging complaints;
- complaints lodged with the BCCSA;
- adjudications and the reasons therefor;
- tribunal judgments and the reasons therefor;
- appeal tribunal judgments and the reasons therefor;
- quarterly complaints reports;
- minutes of annual general meetings of the BCCSA;
- minutes of special meetings of the BCCSA;
- reports on conferences held under the auspices of the BCCSA;
- annual reports (reviews) by the chairperson;
- annual financial statements of the BCCSA.
- (e) Categories of records which are available to members of the public without a person having to request access in terms of the Act
- BCCSA Constitution, including the Code of Conduct;
- BCCSA procedure;
- list of commissioners;
- annual reviews (reports);
- signatories to the Code of Conduct.
- These categories can all be accessed through the website of the BCCSA at http://www.bccsa.co.za/. Some judgments are also available on “judgments online” from Butterworths at http://www.legalnet.co.za/.
- (f) Description of the services available to the members of the public and how to gain access to those services
- The service to the public is to accept complaints against broadcasters, signatories to our Code of Conduct, and to adjudicate on those complaints as described in paragraph (d) above. Access is gained to this service by lodging a complaint with the registrar at the address and numbers mentioned in paragraph (b) above.
- (g) Arrangement or provision for a person (other than a public body) to participate in or influence the formulation of policy or the exercise of powers or performance of duties
- No special arrangement or provision exists for persons to participate in or influence the formulation of policy or the exercise of powers or performance of duties. However, no decision is taken by any adjudicator, tribunal or appeal tribunal of the BCCSA without carefully considering all the arguments put forward by complainants. These arguments have in the past, and will in future, influence the BCCSA in the formulation of its policy and the exercise of its powers or performance of its duties.
- (h) Description of all remedies available in respect of an act or a failure to act by the BCCSA
- Should the registrar refuse to accept a complaint, the complainant may appeal against such refusal to the chairperson. An appeal lies against the decision of an adjudicator to the tribunal. A complainant may appeal against the decision of the tribunal to the appeal tribunal. A complainant may also take the tribunal or appeal tribunal on review to the Independent Communication Authority of South Africa (hereafter ICASA). Finally, the BCCSA may be taken on review to the High Court of South Africa.
- (i) Other information as may be prescribed
- No other information is prescribed.
- Dated at Johannesburg on 22 August 2005.