USAASA refutes claim it may lose set-top-box tender

 (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
(Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

Johannesburg - A South African company has disputed a claim by the Digital Terrestrial Transmission (DTT) programme head at the Department of Communications that it jumped the ship with regards to launching a multibillion-rand tender for the country's digital migration project.

The head, Solly Mokoetle, told TechCentral that industry players expressed concern over the role of USAASA as a funder and procurement officer in the process.

He said the USAASA tender would be investigated for “any violation of the procurement process”.

USAASA said on Sunday that Mokoetle was a junior official with no authority to make such a declaration public.

"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," they said in a statement. "It is a pity Mr 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."

USAASA said its procurement process was not affected by the recently published BDM Policy Amendments and will proceed toward 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," it said.

"Cabinet (in 2012) mandated the USAF under the legal administration of USAASA with the procurement and as such will not [be] interfered [with] by any person. Movement of project mandate - as per Mr. Mokoetle's indication - from USAASA does not automatically mean movement of funds. It in fact results in a delayed migration and brings into question allegiance to country or sector. Mr 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 of assisting the country to migrate for the sole purpose of freeing up spectrum for sectoral advancement."

"Policy makers must retain their functions. Implementers must retain their functions."
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