Vodacom saw a major reprieve court against the Lesotho Communication Authority (LCA), after the country’s high court ruled against the regulator’s decision to strip the operator of its licence for an unpaid fine.
Business Insider South Africa reported the LCA must showcase evidence on October 23 to support its decision.
In a statement, Vodacom labelled the regulator’s action as “flagrant disregard of the rule of law” and lodged an urgent application to the Lesotho high court on October 8, in response to the LCA revoking its licence in the same day for failing to pay the LSL40.2 million ($2.44 million) fine by October 7.
Philip Amoateng, MD of Vodacom Lesotho, said: “We had no option but to seek relief in the courts because the LCA’s decisions imposing an excessive fine as well as the revocation of Vodacom’s operating license are both erroneous as a matter of law and public policy.”
“The LCA has unfortunately violated its prescripts and rules and our efforts to find an amicable solution to the dispute has drawn a complete blank. Given the hostility shown by the LCA towards Vodacom, our options are now limited to seeking redress in the courts to avert further damage to our brand, reputation and the interests of stakeholders, including our customers, shareholders and employees,” added Amoateng.
The managing director also claimed the LCA placed the country’s telecommunication ecosystem “at-risk” including the M-Pesa mobile money platform which has 661,000 users and tens of thousands of jobs. The LCA issued its first fine on Vodacom for LSL8.2 million in August 2019.
Vodacom Lesotho began operations in 1996 and amassed over 1.2 million customers in Lesotho.