07 Sep South Africa: ICASA warns of possible ‘non-compliance’ regarding Cell C recapitalisation
South African regulator the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has confirmed that it had received a notification from Cell C regarding its recent change of ownership, though its preliminary view is that ‘the Cell C recapitalisation transaction – on the face of it – triggers the provisions of Section 13 of the Electronic Communications Act of 2015 and ought to have been filed as an application for change of control of the licensee.’ The authority is engaging Cell C ‘to seek clarity on this apparent non-compliance with the legislative provisions’, while also taking external legal advice on the matter, including what appropriate enforcement actions it can take to ensure compliance.
As reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate last month, Cell C announced that it concluded its recapitalisation, with Blue Label now holding 45% of Cell C, while 3C Telecommunications – itself owned by Oger Telecom 45.6%, the Employee Believe Trust 29.4%, and CellSAf 25% – is in charge of 30%, Net1 (15%) and Cell C management and staff (10%). CellSAf filed a legal challenge against the deal in November 2016, claiming that it wasn’t afforded an option to comment on the restructuring. Further, last month CellSAf described the process as a ‘blatant attempt at corporate capture that is likely to collapse under regulatory scrutiny’ in a strongly-worded statement and pledged to pursue legal action in the high court to stop the deal from proceeding.