Comms Minister under fire over second national operator tender

24 Jun 2004

The South African Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri has come under fire for her decision to grant a 26% stake in the country’s second national fixed line telco to two consortiums that were dismissed as substandard by the telecoms regulator. Matsepe-Casaburri granted 13% stakes in the start-up to CommuniTel and Two Consortium despite the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) rejecting their bids on the grounds that neither had the experience or financial clout to run the new network. Nexus Connection – a 19% stakeholder in the fledgling rival to incumbent Telkom SA – has applied for a judicial review of the awards process alleging that Matsepe-Casaburri had acted illegally; the case is due to be heard in the Cape High Court on 2 August. Matsepe-Casaburri’s office said that she would contest the allegations.