Company does not need Msunduzi’s permission to install network

2014-10-02 00:00

THE Supreme Court of Appeals has confirmed that national electronic networks company Dark Fibre Africa does not need permission from the Msunduzi Municipality to install an optic fibre cable network in the city.

The court yesterday upheld an earlier ruling by Judge Esther Steyn in the Pietermaritzburg high court in which she found that Dark Fibre Africa had an absolute right in terms of licences issued under the Electronic Communications Act of 2005 to carry out construction on both public and private land, and that it didn’t need the municipality’s permission.

The court said yesterday that Msunduzi’s application to halt the work was “misconceived” and based on an incorrect interpretation of the act — that the consent of a public authority was required before the licencee could commence its work.

Yesterday’s judgment spells the end of Msunduzi’s legal battle with Dark Fibre Africa, dating back to February this year when the municipality went to court to interdict the company to stop construction, pending a court review of its conduct.

Thego Distshego of Dark Fibre Africa said the ruling is “not only a win for Dark Fibre Africa, but for the industry as a whole”. He said the company would continue to engage with the municipality on “practical matters” related to building their network in the city.

Distshego said they had been engaged in digging trenches to build links for government entities with the city and were surprised to be stopped by a local government entity.

Msunduzi spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said they had just received the ruling and were studying it.

She said the issue was not unique to Msunduzi and that Section 22 of the act in its current form had enormous implications for landowners, whether private or public. She added that there was also a shortcoming in the act in that the exercise of the rights under Section 22 — which is required to be reasonable and procedurally fair under the Constitution — has not been regulated.

“In the absence of national legislation, we are busy with drafting bylaws to regulate the exercise of powers in terms of Section 22,” Mafumbatha said.

She added that similar to Dark Fibre Africa, a company with a Section 22 licence, there were other licensees in the country who were all competing for space.

“We have received a number of such applications from these companies to do work in the city. A special committee consisting of a number of different disciplines meets with these companies to reach agreement on issues that impact on the city — including safety, traffic and engineering.”

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Men.24 Model of the Week: Wendy from Cape Town

Find out more about our featured model, Wendy from Cape Town


You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
WATCH: Pornhub is giving users free access to premium content these holidays
5 top leg exercises for men
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.