Johannesburg – Trade union Solidarity wants clarity on Vodacom’s reported plans to implement a R15 billion empowerment deal.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the union argues empowerment deals seem to serve to exclude people who are not black.

Deputy general secretary Johan Kruger says such deals could be attendant on the unequal allocation of shares in employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), an allocation done according to race. This is a cause for concern for Solidarity.

“If these rumours are true Solidarity, will not hesitate to take further action and to launch mobilisation campaigns against the deals,” Kruger says.

Solidarity’s letter comes on the back of a Bloomberg report towards the end of last month that Vodacom was considering the sale of a R15 billion stake in what would be one of the South Africa’s biggest ever empowerment deals.

Read also: Vodacom mulls R15bn empowerment stake

Bloomberg, quoting  sources, reported that Vodacom plans to buy back part of the 12.47 percent stake owned by the Public Investment Corporporation.

It also quoted a spokesman saying “Vodacom is committed to delivering on the ideals of black economic empowerment and continue to explore a variety of options with the primary objective of broad-based inclusivity”.

Vodacom’s previous empowerment scheme – Yebo Yethu – was worth R7.5 billion and listed on the JSE last year. It listed on the JSE last year.

YeboYethu was established in 2008 with the intention of proving previously disadvantaged South Africans with a stake in Vodacom, SA’s largest cellular operators. When it launched, Vodacom issued 14.4 million YeboYethu shares at R25 each, with 102 000 black investors buying in and the scheme owning 3.44 percent of Vodacom.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE