YeboYethu, Vodacom’s R7.5 billion black economic empowerment (BEE) scheme, will launch limited share trading from today. The shares will be traded on an over-the-counter platform run by Equity Express. The shares provide a holding in Vodacom South Africa and not the JSE-listed Vodacom Group. The price of YeboYethu shares is not directly linked to the price of Vodacom shares. YeboYethu was launched five years ago and attracted more than 100 000 people. Vodacom chief executive Shameel Joosub said the scheme had achieved its broad-based BEE goal by paying out almost R65 million in dividends. YeboYethu chairman Zarina Bassa said the verification process for shareholders began in November and more than 2 000 buyers had registered. But unlike rival MTN’s initially disastrous launch of over-the-counter trading of its MTN Zakhele BEE shares, Vodacom was confident of a successful first day. MTN Zakhele relaunched trading last week after suspending trades in November last year, when its online site crashed after overwhelming interest. Bassa said: “We partnered with an experienced trading platform that handles high volume accounts… and we’ve also conducted extensive stress testing on the trading system, so we’re aiming for a smooth start.” – Asha Speckman