The cash-strapped Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has been ordered to recover R370 million owed by the SANDF and Vodacom in unpaid network licences.
Members of Parliament’s portfolio committee on communications issued the instruction after Icasa bigwigs said they were considering writing off the debts that dated back five years.
Icasa chief financial officer Clarinda Simpson, chief executive Themba Dlamini and chairman Stephen Mncube appeared before the committee yesterday.
The authority was commended for getting an unqualified report for the first time in five years, but was told it still had a long way to go before meeting its targets.
The trio’s presentation painted a picture of an organisation hit by financial problems and staff shortages.
They said Icasa had requested R254m in additional funding from the National Treasury.
The authority had also spent R8m on the salaries of temporary staff because the government had frozen permanent positions. The committee also heard that Icasa offices had crumbling equipment, with computers barely functional.
Simpson said although Icasa was still working on the recovery plans, there was a possibility of the debts being written off.
“In actual fact we are owed R377m on spectrum debt. The main contributor of this debt is the SANDF, which owes us R139m. Vodacom owes us R73m, while the WBS (Wireless Business Solution) has not settled its debt of R83m,” Simpson said.
Cope MP Juli Kilian said Icasa was not “performing up to standard”.
“You have only achieved 33 percent of your target.
“If Icasa cannot move with the… industry you will definitely be out of a job,” said Kilian. - The Pretoria News