City Fathers respond to allegations by Paratus regarding installation of fibre optics
The City of Windhoek (CoW) this week responded to allegations contained in the article published in the Economist Newspaper on 21 May under the heading ‘City of Windhoek undermines Harambee, prevents job creation and halts communication infrastructure’.
City Chief Executive Officer, Robert Kahimise in response said they have no lease agreement that mandates Paratus Telecommunications to install or lay its cable on the city land and thus the act to stop them from the illegal undertaking.
Kahimise said the City municipality engaged Paratus Telecommunications on several occasion to comply with Council conditions of land use, but they could not up to date provide any proof of any lease of the land or side-walk they plan to use.
“Although CoW has issued way-leaves as referred to in the article, those way-leaves authorisation have conditions which Paratus Telecom has violated, and they indicated their unwillingness to comply with the set requirements in writing,” he added.
According to Kahimise one of the key conditions the City has specified is that, if Paratus chooses not to pay lease for land use, they must install an extra sleeve or pipe to specifications laid out in the letter issued to them in lieu of such a lease, while other conditions relate to depths and distances required from a City’s existing service perspective.
“It is thus irresponsible for Paratus Telecom to claim that the City is undermining Harambee by putting people willing to work out of their jobs, and they are trying to prevent Paratus from installing its communications infrastructure,” he emphasised.
Kahimise said that the City of Windhoek is a responsible 3rd tier of Government and practice good corporate governance and ethics that calls for equal opportunities to be afforded to all interested entities and citizens and they understand and value their responsibility towards their inhabitants, therefore continuing to promote and practice competitiveness and create a conducive environment that leaves no room for exclusivity and anti-competitiveness, which only benefits the selected few.
Kahimise reiterated that Paratus Telecom was at no point exclusively or solely appointed to lay optic fibres on the City land and that they have put out an expression of interest in the media which ran during the months of February to March 2018 for the provision of these services as per the requirements of the Procurement Act, Act 15 of 2015 to ensure that all service providers are afforded an equal opportunity to partake in the City’s smart initiative if they so wish.
“We believe this is the inclusivity philosophy of Harambee where none should feel left out,” he added.
Kahimise said that Paratus Telecom was stopped for not complying with the conditions stipulated in their approval letter to lay their own fibre for which they applied, not the City’s fibre, and believe that they acted in bad faith against ethical business practices in terms of engagement on public assets.
Meanwhile he urged the public to take note that the City of Windhoek is a responsible and committed entity and will always act in line with its values of fairness and equity in our dealings, therefore cannot allow emotional manipulation against prescribed laws and regulations.
“The expectations are to involve more companies that will eventually create more employment, cheaper and high quality technological services to our residents, this why we remain committed to providing effective and efficient municipal services in order to enhance the quality of life for all our people,” concluded Kahimise.
While the City of Windhoek recognises the section 60 of the Communications Act 8 of 2009, no part or section of this act states that the holder of the Telecommunications Service License as issued by the Communication Regulatory Authority of Namibian (CRAN) should not comply or disregard the Local Authority’s conditions.