Response: USAASA may lose set-top box tender

Regulation & Policy

The public utterances of junior personnel in the Department of Communications are indeed unfortunate. While Solly Mokoetle is the DTT Programme Head at the Department of Communications, he - for all intents and purposes - is a junior official with no authority to make such declarations, public or otherwise.

USAASA is well aware of the intention of some in the sector to delay the broadcasting digital migration (BDM) and find the need to discredit credible brands doing diligent work. It is a pity Mokoetle has played into those tactics at the cost of the country.

USAASA is also aware of service providers who did not bid having been deterred by promises to stop the BDM procurement process; it is unfortunate that such promises were made while there is no legal jurisdiction to effect such over USAASA. The USAF is under the legal direction of USAASA's shareholder, the DTPS. It is perhaps prudent that Mokoetle start first by seeking the permission of Minister Cwele before misleading his stakeholders and the public at large.

USAASA's procurement process has been undertaken in compliance with government procurement regulations. It is advised that Mokoetle familiarise himself with such codes of conduct and refrain from making loose statements.

USAASA's procurement process is in no way affected by the recently published BDM Policy Amendments and will proceed towards closure. Those industry players that ignored the rumours and focused on what they do best will have bid for the work and will be evaluated. Those who elected to listen to ill-informed statements and promises have only themselves to blame.

Cabinet (in 2012) mandated the USAF under the legal administration of USAASA with the procurement, and as such will be not interfered with by any person. Movement of project mandate - as per Mokoetle's indication - from USAASA does not automatically mean movement of funds. In fact it results in a delayed migration and brings into question allegiance to country or sector. Mokoetle must explain to the nation where he stands relative to the public interest.

It is truly unfortunate that private interests have penetrated the public realm and resulted in seemingly desperate utterances as this.

USAASA is committed to performing its part in assisting the country to migrate for the sole purpose of freeing up spectrum for sectoral advancement.

With the completion of the Sentech's network, the poorest of the poor must be assisted as per government's intent, which the Department of Communications is expected to implement, not deride or permit junior officials to do so.

Government has obligations it has committed to and it is high time all stakeholders put their differences in the past and join hands to deliver on this migration or risk signal interference.

Policy makers must retain their functions. Implementers must retain their functions.
Source: ITWeb 24 March 2015