Security threat biggest 5G concern

29 May 2020 | Local News

Windhoek • [email protected]
After hours of deliberating council procedures during the monthly meeting on Thursday, the agenda
point of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Huawei Communications and the City
of Windhoek (CoW) was referred back to management after the motion was opposed. 
Councillor Brunhilde Cornelius tabled that the motion to implement 5G technology be put on hold.
She argued in a letter dated 17 April 2020 to CoW chief executive Robert Kahimise, that Huawei is
banned in a number of countries including the United States, Australia and Japan due to serious
security concerns. She said everyone has a right to privacy in their homes and communications.
“Huawei doesn't have a licence in place to render services in Namibia and at the time of writing this
motion, the City also didn’t have their licences in place, yet we wish to sign an MoU,” she argued.
Except that the agreement will mean that the City will compete with two established Namibian
telecommunications operators, Cornelius also said that Huawei is the only vendor that has the ability
to roll out 5G. She wanted to know whether a multi-vendor procurement process had been applied.
“Were other vendors like Samsung, and Nokia approached for this?” she wanted to know.
Smart and Caring City strategic plan
Although the motion was seconded, Mayor Fransina Kahungu gave Councillor Immanuel Paulus, who
opposed Cornelius's motion, opportunity to present his statement. According to him, Cornelius's
motion comes with a financial implication, seeing that Council in 2017 already approved the
strategic plan to become a smart and caring city by 2022. “Costs have already been incurred in an
effort to achieve this plan and this includes obtaining a telecommunications service license,” he said.
Accept for the MoU, Cornelius also tabled a motion regarding the CoW’s telecommunications
services joint venture, stating in a letter dated 12 May 2020 to Kahimise, that the license provided by
the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) states that the license is provided on
CRAN’s understanding that the CoW will partner with Telecom Namibia.
Although she admits that Telecom did not attend a mandatory first meeting of bidders, which was
part of the procurement process to seek a commercialisation partner and was therefore not eligible
for consideration, she is also not aware of any prescribed procurement procedures that were
followed to involve Huawei in the intended project.