Telecel board continues to consult Makamba

Below is an article from our Affirmative Action Media Monitoring Project. These articles represent a wide variety of views. These views do not necessarily represent the views of AAPF but instead are intended to provide you with an overview of the current affirmative action debate.

March 17, 2011

TELECEL Zimbabwe acting chairman Jane Mutasa has accused her company’s majority shareholder Telecel International of breaching the country’s laws by continuing to consult exiled businessman James Makamba on its local operations despite boardroom changes.
Mutasa complained to the Media and Communication Portfolio Committee of parliament yesterday that the Telecel board merely used her to rubber-stamp decisions they would have made in consultation with Makamba in South Africa.
Mutasa leads local consortium Empowerment Corporation, which owns 40% of Telecel Zimbabwe, which is the country’s second largest mobile phone operator.
“Egyptians and Kestrel Corporation (Makamba’s investment vehicle) hold meetings in South Africa. My bone of contention is that they want me to endorse decisions made in my absence,” said Mutasa.
She said her opposition to foreigners being hired as senior managers ahead of locals was central to Telecel International sidelining her in making critical decisions.
“The board has hired foreigners to fill all executive positions against indigenisation policy and these guys are not answerable to me,” Mutasa complained.
The managing director, finance director, technical director and commercial roll-out manager of Telecel Zimbabwe are all foreigners.
She further alleged that Telecel’s audited results were being kept away from her by the managing director and financial director.
The government withdrew Telecel’s operating licence last year until it regularised its shareholding structure in accordance with Zimbabwe’s indigenisation policy.
This requires that locals own  51% or more of any business valued above US$500 000.

Telecel International owns 60% of Telecel Zimbabwe.  Asked to reveal her company’s shareholding, Mutasa said Empowerment Corporation comprised Cellphone Investments (21,7%), Indigenous Women Business Organisation (0,0023%), Small Scale Miners (8%) and Kestrel Corporation (Makamba’s investment vehicle) (70%).
Other founding shareholders, such as the Affirmative Action Group, War Veterans Association, Integrated Engineering Group and Zimbabwe Farmers Union, all disposed of their stakes.

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