By Pinky Khoabane
Mathews Phosa’s Damascus letter may come to haunt the much needed political assistance CellSaf needs to block or overturn CellC/Blue Label’s greed.
In its battle to have CellC’s recapitalisation plan overturned, CellSaf is going to need every bit of assistance, not least from government and the country’s regulatory bodies. The BEE group, at whose helm sits former ANC Treasury Mathews Phosa, who has in recent months publicly attacked his political party and its president, will have to step aside to ensure his views don’t taint the process of getting help – legal, political and otherwise. Phosa is the chairman of CellSaf.
CellSaf is in battle with its partners, CellC, over the decision by the latter to sell a stake of the company to Blue Label Telecoms without the authorisation of the board. The deal sees Blue Label acquire 45% shareholding in CellC for R5.5 billion and the executive management of CellC which comprises six white men, acquire 10% for R2000. Here are the articles on the acquisition http://uncensoredopinion.co.za/battle-lines-drawn-cellc-bee-partner-cellsaf/
Phosa’s “Damascus moment” open letter written two weeks ago is still fresh on the minds of many and his former comrades who disagree with the manner in which he’s going about criticising the party will have no sympathy for his woes with CellC.
I can already hear some saying; well there should be a separation of issues regarding the principles and violations, thereof, around the deal and Phosa’s personal views. That however is being disingenuous. Phosa is who he is and his political status and connections have helped him amass the wealth he has today – hopefully its not only on paper but is in real economic and financial terms. But bringing the point closer to CellC versus CellSaf, his political connections, among others, would have played a role in securing CellSaf as the preferred BEE vehicle to get the third mobile licence whose goal was to give Blacks a stake in the industry. It’s happened with all the ANC connected leaders. Its part of the agreement reached to share the wealth of this country. Jay Naidoo, Cyril Ramaphosa, and other ANC cadres have sat from across their oppressors’ tables and made deals – for themselves.
In later years, the crumbs were shared among a wider group of people and such deals as CellSaf’s were struck. And this is why this acquisition by Blue Label is so morally bankrupt. Blacks, coming from a minus zero base, had to come up with R1.5bn to buy their stake into a so-called BEE company. Sixteen years later, six white men can pay R2000 to get a bigger stake than the Blacks for which the licence was created.
Phosa has called for Zuma to resign to allow a younger “and not so conflicted cadre” (my view) to take charge. He has bemoaned the current ANC government as “alienating” investors from coming into the country. I’m saying to Phosa: For the sake of ensuring that the Saudis who have now betrayed you and the Blacks who coughed out R1.5bn, you should resign and allow this injustice to be met with the necessary outrage it deserves.