The Democratic Alliance in South Africa says the ANC government has stopped Elon Musk’s plans to start Starlink in South Africa.
The Democratic Alliance said on Wednesday that the ANC government’s policies on empowerment had stopped Elon Musk from putting SpaceX’s satellite-based Starlink internet service into service in South Africa.
Dianne Kohler Barnard, the DA’s shadow minister of communications, said in a statement that the communications regulator’s limits on equity ownership of telecommunications licenses are stopping SpaceX from launching Starlink to South African customers.
Kohler Barnard said these rules require companies like Starlink to get network and service licenses from Icasa. These licenses need “historically disadvantaged groups” to own 30% of the company’s shares.
South Africa could be the only African country that doesn’t use Starlink.
Kohler Barnard said, “It is laughable that a multibillion-dollar international company must give at least 30% of its equity to the ANC government to do business in South Africa.” He intended to say that the shares must be sold to the government, but he was wrong.
“In a written response from the minister of communications and digital technologies, Mondli Gungubele, the ANC made it clear that South Africans will never get free internet or data and that millions will continue to live without access to technology unless an ANC cadre or tenderpreneur provides it,” the DA MP said.
She said South Africa is prepared to become one of the only African countries not to roll out Starlink” because of the black economic empowerment rules. She promised to write to Gungubele to change the laws “to remove the archaic, irrational, and ridiculous hurdles to progress.”
She said, “I want SpaceX to ask the ANC government to provide these services in South Africa, and I want to put pressure on the ANC to let our people join the rest of the world online so that we don’t become the digital pariah of not only our content but of the whole world.”