According to a statement released by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa), the ongoing unrest in some parts of the country has caused the closure of community radio stations and the disruption of communication services. Affected community radio stations include Alex FM, Ntokozo FM, Mams FM and Westside FM. The equipment of these radio stations has been reported damaged or looted.
Icasa further received reports of vandalism of communications infrastructure, including 113 network towers in some parts of the country.
"Such wanton destruction of the broadcasting infrastructure and facilities represents a direct attack on the constitutional right of individuals and communities to access news and information that is accurate, unbiased and up-to-date about the current crisis. The authority accordingly condemns such criminal behaviour in the strongest of terms," Icasa said.
Icasa chairperson Dr Keabetswe Modimoeng, said: "We call on the communities to assist in guarding and protecting this critical infrastructure and to exercise the highest levels of patriotism in this regard. Any disruption of communication services could prove disastrous and result in increased mortality as emergency calls may be directly impacted."
Dr Modimoeng further states that Icasa has written to the National Joints Operations and Intelligence Services (NatJoints) to prioritise the safeguarding and protection of this critical telecommunications infrastructure.