Starlink founder, Elon Musk has conspicuously left out South Africa as the company starts the rollout of high-tech internet, Starlink by the second quarter of the year.
Nigeria was the first African country to benefit from the programme. A month later, it was introduced in Rwanda.
According to Starlink’s availability map, the service will be available in 19 more African nations in 2023, with Zambia, Angola, and Kenya planned to start in Q2 2023. Sixteen nations, including Uganda, Tunisia, Ghana, and Egypt, are planning to begin in 2024, with 18 more having unknown launch dates.
South Africa, Africa’s largest internet consumer, is, nevertheless, absent from Starlink’s list.
The Democratic Alliance alleged earlier this month that South Africa’s ANC ruling government was preventing Starlink from entering the country due to strict telecommunications regulations.
“It is nonsensical that where such an opportunity could present itself, the ANC would rather stick to its archaic cadre deployment style policies and rather ensure that its politically connected friends are awarded exorbitant tenders rather than actually make a difference in the lives of South Africans,” Democratic Alliance Shadow Minister Dianne Kohler Barnard wrote in a blog post.
The IECS and IECNS licences are required for Starlink to launch in South Africa. All companies that seek these licences must have 30% of their stock held by “historically-disadvantaged groups,” according to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA).
That means South Africa wants Musk to give up a significant part in his profitable enterprise in order for him to provide services in the country.
Last week, ICASA stated that it had met with Starlink twice but had not yet received an official licence application.
Kenya had a similar system, but President William Ruto recently overturned it, requiring foreign enterprises to have 30% Kenyan ownership in order to operate in the country.