South Africa: ICASA Prepares To Appeal Court’s Spectrum Ruling
South African regulator of the broadcasting, electronic communications and postal services sectors in South Africa, the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA), is preparing to appeal to the interdiction passed on Monday by the North Gauteng High Court.
Telkom filed an urgent appeal against the authority to halt the spectrum auction, in the view that the auction process was flawed and ICASA needed to address the concerns before continuing.
Dr Keabetswe Modimoeng, the chairperson of ICASA, has vowed to dispute the ruling. “ICASA’s resolve is to exhaust all legal avenues in respect of this process, to ensure our commitment to our public mandate”, said Modimoeng.
ICASA has rejected Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams’s suggestion to arrange mediation between the parties. According to Ndabeni-Abrahams, the ministry will remain open for alternative mediation resolution outside the court process.
As stated by Modimoeng, “the mediation route was explored back in 2016 when the agreement led the authority to enter into an Out-of-Court settlement, withdrawal of the Invitation To Apply, and other mediation forms”. “We are placing our best interest at the position of prominence, meaning we will explore all legal avenues that are at our disposal, including appeals. The due diligence will ensure that the licencing process classification is defined by both the public and the industry role players.”
The March 2021 auction has been the closest ICASA has ever gotten to licencing the high-demand spectrum. Although they are not keen to negotiate with all opposing parties, ICASA is hopeful that the legal system will help finalise the process in due course.