The DA’s Shadow Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services Marian Shinn has urged the Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services Siyabonga Cwele to abandon his legal action to stop the high-demand spectrum auction by ICASA.
Allocating wireless broadband spectrum was critical to the expansion of South Africa’s economic growth, said Shinn.
The process has been subjected to a decade of politically-inspired delays within the governing ANC, she said, as it dithered on how to control the spectrum.
ICASA recently issued an invitation to companies to lodge their interest in participating in the spectrum auction.
On 25 July, Cwele said he was taking ICASA to court in a bid to stop the auction process.
This was done after he held two meetings with ICASA to withdraw the invitation, which it declined to do.
“ICASA’s bold step to issue the invitation to prospective bidders came after 10 years of dithering on the spectrum policy by successive ANC communications ministers over how it was best to allocate the high-demand spectrum to ‘new’ entrants to the telecommunications sector,” said Shinn.
In February, Cwele told the parliamentary portfolio committee on Telecommunications and Postal Services that he preferred a closed-bid process, she said.
“The spectrum policy is unnecessarily bogged down in the ICT Policy White Paper review process that was started in 2012, and that is now entangled in a tug-of-war of competing factions in the ANC.”
“The machinations of the ANC to control who is given the high-demand spectrum must stop. It is time to let ICASA exercise its authority in the best interest of South Africa.”