ABC jumps into Vodacom fight

ABC jumps into Vodacom fight

MASERU-THE All Basotho Convention (ABC) will soon intervene in the fight between Vodacom Lesotho and the Lesotho Communications Authority (ABC).
This comes as the battle has now spilled into the High Court where Vodacom has since been granted an interim order blocking the LCA from revoking its licence and forcing it to pay a fine.

The LCA is yet to file its responding papers in what promises to be an epic fight between a multinational company and a dogged regulator.
Vodacom has since accused the LCA of violating its own rules and maliciously targeting it with what it calls scurrilous allegations, misdirected and trumped up charges.

The LCA insists that Vodacom persistently violated the regulations, flagrantly ignored orders and tried to use political influence to block the charges.
The ruling ABC’s executive committee however believes there is still some room for reconciliation despite the looming court battle and the toxic relations.

The party was supposed to meet Vodacom and the regulator separately on Monday but most executive committee members were caught up in government and parliamentary activities.
Professor Nqosa Mahao, the party’s deputy leader, told thepost that the mediation is urgent because the party is worried about the potential impact on the economy.

“We are concerned about the technological and economic impact of the decision to revoke the licence,” Prof Mahao said last night.
“We are also considering the impact of the decision on the general public who rely on the company for services.”
He said the party is also worried that the LCA decision comes at a time when Lesotho’s economy is already struggling.”

Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro has already waded into the dispute, telling a radio station last week that the government was “shocked” by the decision.
The Prime Minister said the LCA did not consult the government before cancelling the licence.

A meeting he had with the company and the regulator last week appears to have failed to douse the fires with each party digging in its heels.
Vodacom has told the court that the cancelation of the licence would affect 610 000 people who use its Mpesa which it says has M209 million held in trust by two commercial banks.
It warned that revoking the licence would lead to panic withdrawals that could create a serious commercial crisis.

The company said Mpesa handles an average M1 billion every month. It claims to have contributed M194 million in taxes during the last financial year.
Between 2016 and 2019 it’s direct and indirect tax contribution was over M1 billion. Vodacom said cancelling the licence would lead to a destruction of 23 000 job opportunities it provides. The company said the decision will affect its 1.2 million subscribers.

“The inevitable impact on service availability throughout the country would affect the performance of essential government services such as policing, healthcare and infrastructure provisioning,” Vodacom said in its court papers.

Staff Reporter

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