President Cyril Ramaphosa encouraged telecommunications operators, sector regulator Icasa and the department of communications to engage in mediation to get South Africa’s spectrum auction back on track.
The auction was due to take place at the end of March but was derailed after Telkom and e.tv successful secured an interdict preventing it from going ahead. MTN has also taken the process on review.
Speaking to journalists about the liberalisation of the electricity sector on Thursday, Ramaphosa said although the operators have the right to take the auction on review to the court, he’d prefer the matter is settled quicker out of court through mediation.
“I am hoping that telecoms companies will find it in their own interests to subject themselves to a mediation process,” Ramaphosa said. “We’d be very supportive of that type of mediation process and I’m sure Icasa will actively participate, as will the department of communications, in helping to mediate this dispute.”
Icasa has previously said that although it is open to out-of-court discussions with the operators with a view to an out-of-court settlement, it has also said it is not keen on a formal mediation process. Pressure from Ramaphosa could change that stance.
“I would like to see it (the spectrum auction) happening sooner rather than later,” the president said. “The spectrum process is one of those initiatives that will unlock a lot of economic energy in our country…” — © 2021 NewsCentral Media