All eyes on cabinet over Telkom chair - TechCentral

All eyes on cabinet over Telkom chair

Communications minister Roy Padayachie

Telkom should know the name of its new, government-appointed nonexecutive chairman within the next 24 hours.

Cabinet was due to discuss the matter at its scheduled meeting on Wednesday, after which the telecommunications operator was expected to announce the decision by way of a statement on the JSE’s Sens news service.

It is widely expected that Lazarus Zim, a politically well-connected businessman, will replace Jeff Molobela, whose contract expired on Tuesday. TechCentral has been unable to confirm whether Zim will get the job, though senior Telkom sources believe he is the most likely candidate.

Communications minister Roy Padayachie has twice extended Molobela’s contract, which expired in November last year. His term was extended to the end of December, and then again to 15 February, while government deliberated over who should replace him.

Zim, the founder of Afripalm Resources and a former CEO of Anglo American in SA, is a close business associate of Atul Gupta, founder of the Sahara computer group and chairman of TNA Media, publisher of The New Age newspaper.

Government has the right to appoint Telkom’s chairman under special rights it enjoys. Its “class-A” share, which expires on 5 March, gives it a number of rights over ordinary shareholders, including the right to veto the appointment of the group’s CEO.

The first and most important task of Telkom’s new chairman will be finding a permanent CEO. Acting group CEO Jeffrey Hedberg has said he will not apply for the position, and will leave Telkom at the end of March.

A number of senior executives are believed to be interested in the top job. Former Telkom chief financial officer Peter Nelson, who quit the group last year shortly after former CEO Reuben September stepped down, has applied for the job.

Telkom SA MD Nombulelo Moholi is also said to be in the running. Other potential candidates include Molobela and axed former Telkom group chief operating officer Motlatsi Nzeku.  — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral


  1. Actually, he has attended so many telecoms congresses in the last 15 month terms costing the company millions. In Geneva, Nigeria, Lebanon, Beijing, DRC, Zimbabwe, Capetown, London, Barcelona. Travelling first class, top class hotels, chauffeur driven cars all expense paid, without question, by Telkom. What were the benefits to company, besides bad press? zIP. Good riddance !

  2. Do you mean the same Nelson the man himself who could not even scrutinize what was happening under his very nose whilst he was employed as CFO and signed off documents as CA even with knowing the truth to the Board or even bothering to find out what was behind it all with the covering up of mistakes. What a joke this would surely be the end of Telkom if he was to take over the reigns as he was quick to get rid of his shares after leaving first time around or does he see more gravy.?

  3. What rubbish Eagle! Everyone who knows the facts knows differently and appreciates that man’s endeavours and integrity. He made the most enormous impact during his time at Telkom and is a ‘tough no nonsense” business leader capable of taking the reigns. In any event, I doubt that he would even apply for the CEO job, gravy or no gravy, as he would know just how difficult the situation is.

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