By Pinky Khoabane
In the latest standoff between CellC and CellSaf, the mobile network has threatened to sue its BEE partner for “scurrilous and damaging statements” which it claims were made by one of the board members.
CellC’s attorneys, Ian Levitt Attorneys, accuse Zwelakhe Mankazana of making defamatory statements in a press release issued on 27 February 2017. In a letter sent to CellSaf’s board members yesterday, they say Mankazana called their clients “free loaders”. Furthermore they say, he “attributes our clients as being party to a ‘bogus employee share scheme’ and furthermore being party to an ‘illegal and irregular’ transaction, amongst other defamatory statements”.
The attorneys have given the CellSaf board an ultimatum to distance themselves from the statements purportedly made by Mankazana or face legal action which they say they will be instituting “pursuant to the defamatory statements of and concerning our clients”.
The legal firm has given CellSaf until tomorrow to respond to their demands. Mankazana has also been asked to withdraw his statements in an apology that “should be issued to the media and published by them….by no later than 2 March 2017”.
Who’s Threatening Who?
The attorneys further accuse Mankazana of intimidation. “The conduct about which our clients complain is precisely the sort of offensive conduct that the Intimidation Act outlaws and sanctions…..If you have any regard to the severity of the sanction quoted above, it is a clear indication as to the severity with which the legislature (and no doubt the courts) will view conduct of the sort in question.
The Press Release in Question
Ian and Levitt attached to their letter, the press release in question. It is not dated, has no mention of Mankazana anywhere and the so-called “defamatory statements” have not been attributed to him. Here’s the press release:
CELLSAF REJECTS BLUE LABEL ANNOUNCEMENT OF CELL C RECAPITALISATION
CellSAf, Cell C’s 25% BEE investor, remains resolutely opposed to the so called recapitalisation of Cell C, and will continue to fight against it despite the announcement by Blue Label that the finalisation of the transaction has been postponed to 30 June 2017.
CellSAf notes that, once again, the Board of Cell C, Oger Telecoms, Blue Label Telecoms and a handful of executives, who are free loaders for 10% of the transaction, have taken decisions around an asset, owned 25% by CellSAf, without any consultation or approval from CellSAf. Once again CellSAf is being advised of significant changes to a transaction, it has opposed from inception, through the media and through SENS updates and cautionary announcements by Blue Label Telecoms.
CellSAf has not been consulted about the involvement of a mystery new investor, who allegedly will subscribe for 15% of the Equity for R2bn, nor is aware of what has become of the bogus employee share scheme, that was earmarked to acquire 15% of Cell C for R2bn.
CellSAf has not been advised of the nature of agreements or the conditions that must be fulfilled by 30 June 2017, as announced by Blue Label Telecommunications today. CellSAf is not represented on the board of Cell C despite having nominated its new representatives over a year ago. CellSAf’s solitary director on the 3C board, where once again the appointment of 5 other nominees is being obstructed by Oger Telecoms, was not consulted on the new agreements. The transaction, therefore, remains illegal and irregular and CellSAf will continue to seek protection from the courts, as well as regulatory bodies including ICASA, the Competition Commission, the Department of Telecommunications, the CIPC and the JSE, among others.
Issued by: CellSAf
By order of the Board.
The battle between CellC and CellSaf
The acrimony between CellC and CellSaf stems from the decision by the former to recapitalise the organisation without consulting CellSAf. The BEE partner accuses CellC among others, of violating corporate governance principles and embarking on “secret deals” to which it was not party.
Here’s the full story published here two days ago http://uncensoredopinion.co.za/battle-lines-drawn-cellc-bee-partner-cellsaf/