In a statement released yesterday, the BBC said: “This is certainly a noteworthy accomplishment, as we have not just invested in a black business but strategically positioned ourselves favourably on the growth trajectory of the ICT sector with the industry leader of choice.”
The BBC said the successful conclusion of the transaction was bigger than simply participating in an economically fruitful opportunity.
“It is the BBC’s signal to the monopolies that we, as black business, are more than just commentators of transformation, but also meaningful players in the economy, with the clear intention to demonstrate transformation and the power of black excellence.”
The BBC noted that, since the listing had been announced, there had been sustained attacks from detractors of Independent Media - in particular, Tiso Blackstar and the Daily Maverick.
“The nature of these attacks are anti-competitive that serve only to promote an anti-transformative narrative that is designed to keep a significant part of the economy - namely, media and e-commerce - in white hands and continue to prohibit the entrance of black people into the mainstream economy.
“We note that Sagarmatha’s shareholders include more than two million workers, some of the largest trade unions in the country, civil society groupings, NGOs, black businesses, employees of the various companies and universities,” said the BBC.
Meanwhile, the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Pacci) described Sagarmatha as an economic agent that was able to make the most of the emerging new normal in Africa that was characterised by increased economic complexity, uncertainty and volatility.
In an interview yesterday, Pacci chief executive Johnny Muteba said: “The Sagarmatha listing is something we need as a continent at this point in time, especially as the world talks about the fourth industrial revolution.
“We also believe that the company can play a key role in the economy of the 21st century by leveraging its major strengths, agility, ability to ride the wave of new technologies and distinctive value proposition to Africa in a space where there are very few homegrown successes.”
Muteba said what triggered his interest was “the fact that, as an organisation, we are a platform to share experience, learning and innovation in business and entrepreneurship, and we see in Sagarmatha an African partner to work within globalising African businesses”.
The SA Clothing and Textile Workers Union (Sactwu) on Monday also came out in strong support of Sagarmatha Technologies, saying its investment in the media and e-commerce venture would benefit workers greatly.
“We envisage a much bigger market via Sagarmatha’s e-commerce and content platforms, in taking South African-produced fashion not only to local citizens, but making them available to customers beyond our borders.”
Federation of Unions of SA general secretary Dennis George also complimented Sagarmatha: “Sagarmatha is great for Africa, great for the youth and is in line with the YES Campaign under the leadership of President Cyril Ramaphosa. Sagarmatha will train thousands of young black engineers in the areas of artificial intelligence, data science, and software development.”
The JSE granted Sagarmatha Technologies approval to list up to 1214718441 shares in the media sector on its main board. It is due to list on Friday.
According to Sagarmatha chairperson Paul Lamontagne, the company’s vision is to make African technology at the level of Silicon Valley.
For more, follow the hashtag #SiliconAfrika on @SiliconAfrika.
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- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE