BUMBLING telecoms regulator the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) has allowed the South Africa National Defence Force (SANDF) to rack up a mammoth R189m bill for spectrum the army uses to communicate.
This is further evidence of Icasa’s apparent inability to collect the money it is owed from customers that use spectrum after it emerged in recent months that the regulator is already locked in heated disputes with Vodacom and Wireless Business Solutions, which owns iBurst.
Icasa, owed more than R60m by WBS, was split on how to deal with the matter.
Some insiders are pushing for settlement while others want more cash. The regulator has also been trying to settle with Vodacom.
Now it appears that Icasa is also looking to reach a “settlement” with the SANDF over the R189m it is owed. This will infuriate companies that pay the full amounts they owe.
The alarming sum owed by the army emerged from Icasa’s financial turnaround plan. It is not clear why the regulator allowed the bill to balloon to this extent.
Last month, parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) rebuked Icasa, telling the regulator to “firm up and take charge in enforcing compliance from licensees”.