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Paratus accuses industry regulator of irregularities in City of Windhoek communications licence

Paratus accuses industry regulator of irregularities in City of Windhoek communications licence

Following the issuing of a Comprehensive Telecommunications Service Licence to the City of Windhoek (CoW) by the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN), Paratus Telecommunications has come out guns blazing stating that the decision is highly irregular especially to amend the class of licence awarded to the City.

Paratus in a statement this week highlighted that such an amendment would normally be done with public and stakeholder consultation and engagement, which was however not followed by the industry regulator.

Paratus stated that the Local Authorities Act is the enabling Act of the City of Windhoek and does not contain any specific provision which mandates the City in terms of implementing, owning or managing any type of telecommunications services, therefore the awarding of such a licence to CoW is illegal.

“Shortly after CRAN awarded the CoW with its license, CRAN distributed a request for comments on a potential by-law in terms of which the City intends to impose a prohibition against any telecommunications operator to make use of the road, side walk or any public space for the implementations of telecommunications infrastructure, with a specific focus of trenching for fiber infrastructure, which has at its core, the intention to monopolise the telecommunications industry,” said John D’Alton. Group: Marketing And Regulatory Executive at Paratus Namibia

Further he said, what makes all these fact even more controversial is that Judge Petrus Unengu, in the High Court on 26 March 2020, interdicted the Chief Executive Officer and the Municipal Council of the City of Windhoek to, not continue to unlawfully interfere with or obstruct Paratus’ rights under the Communications Act, to not interfere with, or obstruct the applicant’s installations of fiber infrastructure, to not confiscate or seize any equipment of Paratus or its contractors and to pay the legal costs.

“With the City of Windhoek relentlessly ignoring the rule of law in Namibia, means that the City may be liable for contempt of court as well as contravention of both the Communications Act and the Competitions Act,” he added.

Meanwhile, Paratus confirmed that they have already consulted with their legal team and will be instructing its counsel to take the necessary actions in law, which include instituting civil action against the City as well as the specific individuals who instructed the illegal confiscation of their equipment.


 

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.