Lesotho: Regulator clarifies reports on ‘strained relations’ with Vodacom
21 February 2020
The Lesotho Communications Authority (LCA) has released a statement clarifying recent local media reports ‘alluding to strained relations’ with telecoms operator Vodacom Lesotho. Firstly, in August 2019 the regulator says it issued a penalty of LSL8.2 million (USD547,000) to Vodacom after it failed to pay regulatory fees due on or by 1 July 2019. The following November, the LCA published a statement notifying the public of the penalty, although the matter is currently pending before the High Court. In a separate matter, the LCA is also accusing Vodafone of failing to meet Universal Service Fund (USF) obligations to provide a total of 150 schools with internet access, and of not providing complete and accurate information regarding this obligation, despite several requests to do so.
Thirdly, the LCA says that Vodacom has not appointed an independent auditor, as required under the terms of its operating licence. As such, the watchdog has requested that Vodacom provide written reasons within 90 days for why its concession should not be revoked. Additionally, the LCA accuses Vodacom of failing to comply with tariff conditions. Finally, the LCA clarifies that it is not aware of, and has not issued any notice relating to, the alleged irregular acquisition of a 20% stake in Vodacom by Sekhametsi and ‘distances itself from such allegations’.