WirelessG lashes out at ‘incompetent’ Vodacom

WiFi specialist WirelessG has accused Vodacom of “total incompetence” for failing to meet the requirements laid down by Deputy Judge President Willem van der Merwe in a legal battle between the two companies.

WirelessG and six other applicants filed an urgent court application against Vodacom in January, arguing that Vodacom is not in compliance with its shareholding agreement with WirelessG.

The court application focused on three main issues, which WirelessG argues is costing the company millions in lost revenue and damages.

  • Vodacom is not permitted to provide WiFi independently from WirelessG – WirelessG said that Vodacom is offering WiFi services, and is using other companies to offer WiFi without giving them first right of refusal as agreed upon;
  • Vodacom is obliged to offer WirelessG’s WiFi as an integral part of its data bundles – Vodacom is not doing it, which WirelessG said has cost them R174 million, to date, and R7 million per month; and
  • Vodacom has to provide WirelessG with a data price equal to Vodacom’s best wholesale data price – WirelessG said that this is not happening, which has caused damages of R20.5 million and counting.

Vodacom was required to submit a response on 11 February. According to WirelessG the response fell far short of the requirements – hence the specific directives issued by the Deputy Judge President Willem van der Merwe.

WirelessG highlighted in a legal letter that:

  • The affidavit of Mr Shameel Joosub CEO of Vodacom has not been signed. This means that “The content thereof could at this stage either be amended by him or parts thereof deleted or aspects inserted.”;
  • The answering affidavit was not served on our office as per the directive of the Deputy Judge President and the telephone conversation between our Mr Jacobs and your Mr Conradie in which it was agreed that service will be affected by hand on or before 17h00 on 11 February 2013; and
  • We only received extracts from your answering affidavit via e-mail on 11 February 2013. We record that we have up to now neither received your answering affidavit nor did you comply with the directive of the Deputy Judge President.

According to WirelessG “condonation for the late filing of your affidavit will need to be asked for”.

And the group believes this is merely another ploy by Vodacom to delay the proceedings.

“They have reached a state of total incompetence. They renege on agreements and now even think they can operate above law,” said WirelessG CEO Carel van der Merwe.

“They cannot execute their CEO’s instructions to execute a shareholder’s agreement, neither can they execute the directives provided by court to deliver their response in time and according to good practice.”

Carel van der Merwe
Carel van der Merwe

MyBroadband tried to obtain feedback from Vodacom about its legal reply late on Monday (11 February), but the company sidestepped questions about its submission.

Vodacom was also asked about the alleged poor response and that it did not follow the directives issued by the judge, but the company did not respond by the time of publication.

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WirelessG lashes out at ‘incompetent’ Vodacom