Why is Telkom sponsoring SACP events?
It has emerged that parastatal Telkom was one of the main sponsors of the South African Communist Party's 91st Celebratory Gala Dinner this weekend.
The government owns 38.9% of Telkom. If the stake by the Public Investment Corporation is included, the South African public has a 51% investment in Telkom. This means that South African citizens paid, at least in part, for the lavish dinner enjoyed by SACP comrades.
The Department of Communications receives the dividends from the government investment in Telkom and is, as such, the custodian of the public investment in the company. Communications Minister Dina Pule should therefore ensure that our investment in Telkom is protected.
In June, Telkom reported gross consolidated financial debt of about R7.2 billion, which the company will likely struggle to service as analysts are predicting pressure on its profitability - partly as a result of its failure to establish itself in the mobile telecoms market. Telkom is also expected to spearhead national broadband roll-out and has recently rejected the injection of significant funds from the South Korean company KT Corp to support this process.
One therefore has to question the decision to fund a party-political event.
I will be asking Parliamentary questions to find out how much was spent on the SACP sponsorship and how Telkom justified this sponsorship. One struggles to imagine how this expenditure would contribute to the strategic objectives of the telecoms operator.
Minister Pule has some explaining to do.
Statement issued by Marian Shinn MP, DA Shadow Minister of Communications, July 17 2012
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