Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams. Image: GCIS

A day after the high court in Pretoria handed Telkom an interdict, halting Icasa from licensing new broadband spectrum at the end of March, communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has raised mediation as a possible solution to the impasse.

The minister said she “noted” the judgment against the communications regulator and said her ministry remained “open to mediation for the parties involved to find a common solution through alternative dispute resolution outside of the court process”.

“Like all parties involved, the government would like to see the auctioning of the spectrum taking place without delay,” she added. “We are calling on all parties and the sector to work together in the spirit of give and take and avert further delays on auctioning of spectrum.”

The Internet Service Providers’ Association last week also urged mediation to resolve the spectrum standoff.

However, Icasa appears reluctant to entertain the idea of an out-of-court settlement. “We were here in 2016 when an interdict on a similar matter was issued, and that led the authority to enter into an out-of-court settlement, withdrawal of the invitation to apply and other forms of mediation. Such interventions took us nowhere,” Icasa chairman Keabetswe Modimoeng said in a statement on Tuesday.

“We are not going back there. It is our considered view that the best option is to exhaust all possible legal avenues at our disposal, including appeals, so to ensure that this sensitive licensing process is not only defined by industry players but also by the public interest.”  — © 2021 NewsCentral Media