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Paratus and City of Windhoek fight over trenching on wayleave – again

Paratus and City of Windhoek fight over trenching on wayleave – again

Windhoek City Police officers stopped the trenching works in Klein Windhoek by Paratus Telecommunications on 13 February 2020. The Economist found 16 workers on the side of the road, perplexed and not knowing what to do after their foreman was escorted by police officers from the site.

The police officers under command of Superintendent Iyambo also confiscated tools belonging to the Paratus subcontractor, and conduit belonging to Paratus.

Paratus said in a statement that the City of Windhoek has embarked on a strategy to compete in the ICT sector with communications operators to deliver fibre optic infrastructure to each and every household. This would result in placing the municipality in the position of an intermediary provider, thus forcing operators only to deliver services to clients if the infrastructure was leased from the City.

“Furthermore, these stoppages are issued in a bid to buy enough time for the City to apply to the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) for a communications license to seemingly allow it to justify its abusive actions,” accused Paratus.

Paratus further explained the situation stating that the latest interference in trenching works started on 12 February 2020, when City Police, under the instructions from City of Windhoek’s new acting Chief Executive, Pierre van Rensburg issued a stoppage letter while Paratus was completing work in Katutura, laying fibre in an under-served area.

“This was followed up with actions again by City officials this week on 13 February, when they forcibly and without due legal process took possession of the property of Paratus and its subcontractor, even though that specific route that was being trenched was in fact submitted to the City of Windhoek on 9 December 2019, meaning that the City was fully aware of the intention to lay infrastructure as well as the dates on which such civil works would take place,” explained Paratus.

The private Communications company further stated that should the City of Windhoek continue to stop civil works, it would influence close to 100 labourers directly and indirectly [and] cause impact to even more workers that would lose the means to provide for their families.

“City of Windhoek has also abused its power by issuing its City Police officers with instructions to arrest subcontractors and senior executives of the communications operators that are executing their statutory rights,” they concluded.

The Economist afforded the City the opportunity to respond until 16:00 on Friday 14 February. No response came forth.


About The Author

Mandisa Rasmeni

Mandisa Rasmeni has worked as reporter at the Economist for the past five years, first on the entertainment beat but now focussing more on community, social and health reporting. She is a born writer and is working on her degree in Journalism at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST). She believes education is the greatest equalizer. She is the epitome of perseverance, having started as the newspaper's receptionist in 2013.

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia

Promotion

20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.