Statement by Minister of Communications Dina Pule on Telkom
28 Oct 2012
Our decisions at the recently concluded Telkom Annual General Meeting (AGM) were informed by Government’s view that corporate governance and appropriate management of State Owned Companies (SoCs) cannot be left to just any interpretation of our expectations.
Like other SoCs in which Government is a key shareholder, we are using our vote to drive and maintain:
- business stability and viability
- service delivery to the public
- adherence to corporate governance and
- the link between the objectives of government and the commercial imperatives.
Those objectives include, amongst others, delivering value to the broader South African community and to our co-shareholders and investors.
In the wake of the outcomes of the AGM, we are now focused on enhancing and protecting Telkom’s share value whilst balancing that with the objectives of providing affordable connectivity to all South Africans. This will be done through appropriate shareholder management input.
We have a management team in place and we are moving with speed, along with our fellow investors, to ensure that the vacant board seats are filled by the end of this calendar year. We also expect Cabinet to pronounce on the options that are available to find a lasting and sustainable solution for Telkom’s turnaround.
That solution must be underpinned by the creation of a balance between contributing to delivering the socioeconomic development objectives of this country whilst simultaneously facilitating a fruitful and commercially viable existence of Telkom.
That said, the anti- competitive claims against Telkom still need to be appropriately and successfully handled. This is a key Telkom challenge that its leadership will have to contend with in the immediate term and into the future.
In general, the Department of Communications has had to relook at all of its six priorities. Telkom is part of that priority set. Indeed we have been working on a revised Telkom strategy. Part of this Telkom strategy - started in the 2006/07 investment period - is already under implementation. The rest of that strategy, which pertains to broadband rollout and possible partners for fixed line and mobile telephone, will be spoken to by March 2013. Such a strategy needs Cabinet and industry’s approval and endorsement.
The State, working with the private sector, aims to increase broadband penetration to 100% by 2020. Telkom is a strategic asset that government would like to involve in increasing the country’s broadband penetration and telecommunications’ services footprint for the benefit of all South Africans.
As we drive our mandates of digital inclusivity, we will seek to eradicate uncertainty in all the SOCs that report to the Ministry of Communications’ custodianship. Cabinet supports us in these initiatives.
We are learning from other countries that have gone through such wide–ranging telecoms’ liberalisation processes. Two of those lessons that we are watchful of are viability and sustainability. We cannot afford to fail the South African public. Telkom has to help the country’s competitiveness by upgrading its infrastructure to deliver high-speed broadband for the benefit of our economy.
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Issued by: Department of Communications
28 Oct 2012
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