MultiChoice responds to ICASA's listing concerns

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ICASA raised concerns about the MultiChoice listing.
ICASA raised concerns about the MultiChoice listing.

Pay-TV giant MultiChoice says it is "satisfied" with the regulatory approvals it obtained for the company to list on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

This after regulator the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) raised concerns that MultiChoice jumped the gun when it listed on the bourse this week when there were some outstanding regulatory issues.

MultiChoice listed on the JSE on Wednesday.

However, just after the listing, ICASA said it noted with concern that the listing of the MultiChoice Group "seems to be going ahead even though there is a complaint before the Complaints and Compliance Committee (CCC) against the licensee on this listing matter".

ICASA notes that on 23 January 2019, Khulisa Social Group lodged a complaint with the CCC against MultiChoice in respect of the listing.

It adds that in its complaint, Khulisa stated the upcoming listing of the MultiChoice Group on the JSE will result in a contravention of Section 13(1) of the Electronic Communications Act of 2005, as amended.

Responding to ITWeb on the issue, MultiChoice spokesperson Joe Heshu said: "MultiChoice Group is satisfied that all the necessary regulatory approvals in relation to its listing on the JSE have been properly sought as required. We have engaged constructively with ICASA's CCC to resolve the matter.

Commenting on the saga, Arthur Goldstuck, MD of World Wide Worx, says: "If the complaint was serious enough, and the evidence clear enough, ICASA should have stopped the listing before it happened."

However, Goldstuck is of the view that halting the listing would probably have set a dangerous precedent had a single complaint been enough to derail a listing.

"It's also not likely that ICASA can have MultiChoice delisted. The most they can be expected to do at this stage is request that the JSE suspend the listing. Even that is unlikely, given that it would be acting on a single complaint.

"The best way forward is to gather all necessary information and evidence, rule on whether MultiChoice is in violation of its licence terms and, if that is the case, to impose a fine and set terms for compliance. Listed telcos are often fined for non-compliance with regulations."

Paseka Maleka, ICASA's spokesperson, says the compliance committee will make a recommendation on the issue in due course.

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