No more Telkom shares to be sold – Cwele

THE  SA government has no plans to sell off further stakes in Telkom, Telecommunications Minister Siyabonga Cwele said on Tuesday amid calls from the opposition for the parastatal to be fully privatised.

“Telkom has already been privatised. There is no such discussion to dilute the State’s share,” Cwele told a media briefing by Cabinet’s international co-operation, trade and security cluster on Tuesday.

He added that Telkom was one of the country’s state-owned enterprises that was performing well, noting that it contributed half a billion rand into the state’s coffers last year.

Cwele also remarked that government saw its main objective with the telecommunications company as expanding infrastructure around the country to improve connectivity.

The Democratic Alliance this week, ahead of the tabling of the 2016 budget on Wednesday, said Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan should sell off non-strategic assets such as Telkom, rather than raise taxes to generate revenue. DA finance spokesman David Maynier said at the current share price, the state’s holdings in the company was worth about R11.2 billion.

Telkom is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and has a market capitalisation of roughly R30 billion. The government sold 30 percent of Telkom in the 1990s and following its listing in 2003 retained a 39.8 percent direct stake in the company.

Telkom in 2015 posted a R2.9 billion operating profit, down from R4 billion in 2014. – ANA