South Africa’s Vodacom Group has revealed that the Lesotho High Court has issued an order setting aside a number decisions of the Lesotho Communications Authority (LCA), following an amicable and negotiated settlement agreement between the parties. This includes a decision by the LCA to revoke the operating licence of Vodacom Lesotho. In the same order, which was issued on 1 November, Vodacom Lesotho was directed to make a payment of ZAR4 million (USD231,000) to the LCA.
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that the dispute between the LCA and Vodacom dates back to 2019, when the regulator accused Vodacom of a number of infringements, including failure to pay regulatory fees, failure to meet Universal Access Fund (UAF) obligations and failure to appoint an independent external auditor, as required by the terms of its operating licence and the Lesotho Companies Act, 2011. While some of these issues were resolved in early 2020, in September that year the LCA fined Vodacom a total of LSL134 million (USD7.7 million), before the following month saying it was revoking the operator’s licence for failure to pay the penalty. Vodacom lodged an application in the High Court to have both determinations reviewed and set aside, and the court subsequently issued an interim order to prevent the licence revocation and the enforcement of the fine.