Wireless Business Solutions (WBS) on Friday won an urgent high court interdict against the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) in terms which the regulator must return equipment seized during raids it carried out on Wednesday on WBS facilities.
Icasa seized key communications equipment belonging to the company from six separate sites, which caused downtime in Gauteng for users of its iBurst and Broadlink subsidiaries. The authority has accused WBS of using radio frequency spectrum unlawfully and owing almost R60m in unpaid licence fees.
Icasa was given two hours from the time of the order, which was handed down at 5.45pm, to return the confiscated equipment.
WBS nonexecutive director David Hilewitz confirmed to TechCentral on Friday evening that the company had won the urgent interdict and would work to restore services fully over the weekend.
TechCentral was not immediately able to ascertain the reasons given for the judgment.
“We had no notice of and no clue about the seizure warrant issued on 7 March,” Hilewitz said. “Suddenly, they did what they did [on Wednesday]. We had legitimate grounds to oppose it.”
He said WBS wants a “good relationship” with Icasa, adding that this week’s developments had caused reputational damage to the company, which it would now work to rectify.
Broadlink MD Mike Brown said on Friday evening that engineering teams would spend the weekend reconnecting the returned equipment and ensuring all services on the company’s networks were “restored to order”.
Early on Saturday, Icasa acknowledged the court’s decision, but warned it did not exempt WBS from its obligations. “The operator is still required to settle all outstanding radio frequency licence fees,” said spokesman Paseka Maleka.
“The authority remains steadfast in its resolve to recover all outstanding radio frequency licence fees from all affected operators,” he said. “To this end, it urges all those operators who are in arrears with their radio frequency licence fees to engage with and make payment to the authority as a matter of urgency. — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media
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