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South Africa: Icasa pledges sustained legal fight over telecoms spectrum  

By Xolisa Phillip, in Johannesburg
Posted on Monday, 15 March 2021 23:23

A shopper walks past a Telkom shop at a mall in Johannesburg. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

South Africa’s telecoms regulator has vowed “to exhaust all possible legal avenues” after being dealt a blow in court this week, when an order halted the impending auction of high-demand spectrum.

The regulator’s stance is at odds with that of the communications ministry.

Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) chairperson Keabetswe Modimoeng has expressed dismay at the order delivered by the high court this week, but reiterated his confidence in the judiciary.

Part of the “dismay” stemmed from the fact that the order interdicting and restraining Icasa from proceeding with a scheduled auction later in March, was awarded “without reasons”.

History repeats itself

The latest twist in this long-running saga marked a repeat of history because this week’s order went in favour of e.tv and Telkom. In 2016, Telkom approached the courts to challenge Icasa on an impending radio frequency spectrum auction.