Media release                                                                   20 November 2014

Tender inquiry document issued today for alternative magazine delivery services to that provided by SA Post Office

A concerned group of specialist magazine publishers has today issued a tender inquiry document for alternative distribution arrangements for their magazines to that previously undertaken by the South African Post Office (SAPO).

Potential interested magazine distribution service providers are invited to download the tender document and tender for the magazine distribution services detailed.

The attorneys for the group of publishers advise that the delivery of
"periodicals" falls outside the ambit of, and is specifically exempted from, both SAPO's licensed activities (Schedule 1 of the Postal Services Act) and delivery services for which registration with ICASA is required (Schedule 2 of the Postal Services Act).

The definition of a "periodical" is not provided in the Act, but the Oxford English Dictionary definition of "periodical" encompasses magazines that are published periodically. Therefore the magazine publishers believe there are no constraints in making alternative postal or delivery arrangements for their magazines.

It is hoped that market demand for such alternative delivery arrangements by magazine publishers will encourage the formation of an effective and profitable magazine distribution industry, initially covering the metropolitan areas of every province in South Africa, and then extending to smaller cities and towns throughout the country.

The concerned group of specialist magazine publishers are also lodging a formal complaint in the next few days with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) against SAPO, whom the publishers believe has been in breach of its licence conditions for several years.

The group of publishers will be asking ICASA to consider and review its numerous complaints against SAPO and the financial and other damage to the magazine publishing industry caused by SAPO's ongoing failure to meet its license conditions, and to sanction SAPO accordingly.

This could include: punitive financial sanctions against SAPO; entertaining alternative license applications to that of SAPO; considering additional licence applications to supplement the activities of SAPO; or even the removal of SAPO's (currently exclusive) licence.

In terms of the relevant legislation, ICASA is tasked with the monitoring of SAPO to ensure the conditions of its licence are met, and to hear and deal with complaints against the licensee where breaches of license conditions occur.

This formal complaint to be lodged by the publishers with ICASA is a precursor to a possible class action following the legal process, for damages sustained by the publishers resulting from the failure of SAPO to meet its license conditions. However, before such class action, the publishers will follow all other avenues of due process, which includes the formal complaint to ICASA.

For further information, please contact:

Chris Yelland, EE Publishers
Spokesman for the Concerned Group of Specialist Magazine Publishers
Tel: 011 543 7000; Cell: 082 317-4175; Email: