The Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) has saluted the cabinet’s decision to oppose the purchase of a stake in Telkom by South Korea’s KT Corporation.
The “financial mess” at the fixed-line telecommunications parastatal would not be resolved by a cash injection from the Asians, CWU spokesman Matankana Mothapo said yesterday.
“South Africans have more than enough talent to manage their assets. In addition, we do not have to mortgage our country in return for management expertise,” he said.
“The scale of the financial mess that management has plunged Telkom in will not be resolved by getting money injected by Koreans.”
The government decided not to back Telkom’s proposed partnership with the South Korean firm last month. The deal would have given KT a strategic equity shareholding of 20 percent in the share capital of Telkom.
The union called on Communications Minister Dina Pule to “review” Telkom’s management.
Meanwhile, Telkom said it accepted the cabinet’s decision.
“Telkom will work with (the) government to look at alternative solutions for the company,” Telkom spokesman Pynee Chetty said. “Telkom has communicated as such to all its shareholders.”
Mothapo said Telkom management had “agitated” for the South Korean firm to buy a stake, hoping the deal would turn around the struggling parastatal’s fortunes.
“They were of the view that the Koreans will turn Telkom around by coming in with management expertise and would bring money to facilitate Telkom’s investment programmes.”
When the proposed deal was announced in October last year, the CWU and Cosatu said the move could lead to job losses and worse service for the poor.
The government is Telkom’s majority shareholder with a 39.8 percent interest, while the Public Investment Corporation holds a 10.9 percent stake, according to Telkom’s website.
Telkom shares closed 3 percent higher at R20.39 yesterday.