Black IT Forum to pronounce on Neotel deal - TechCentral

Black IT Forum to pronounce on Neotel deal

Morena Ntsika and Mdu Mkhonza

Morena Ntsika and Mdu Mkhonza

The Black IT Forum (BITF), which represents thousands of small and medium enterprises, black professionals and students, has said it will put forward a “forceful view” on Vodacom’s proposed acquisition of Neotel within the next week or so.

Though it hasn’t decided what exactly that view is yet as it’s still consulting with mobile operators Cell C, MTN and Vodacom and still intends engaging with communications regulator Icasa, its treasurer-general, Morena Ntsika, tells TechCentral it intends lobbying bodies such as Icasa and the competition authorities once it’s firmed up its position.

Once it has taken a firm stance, it intends communicating this to both Business Unity South Africa (Busa) and the Black Management Forum, asking that they also support its position.

The BITF’s secretary general Motse Mfuleni is a vice-president of Busa.

Ntsika explains that about 20% of the BITF’s members are opposed to Vodacom’s proposed acquisition of Neotel, valued at R7bn, with many of them wanting the mobile operator to hand back its spectrum to Icasa before the transaction is allowed to proceed. The majority of its members support the deal, he says.

It’s possible — likely, even — that the BITF will recommend the deal proceeds, but also propose that regulators attach conditions to it.

The BITF’s management team met with representatives from Cell C on Wednesday. The mobile operator is vigourously opposing the deal, saying it will undermine competition in South Africa’s telecommunications industry. The forum is meeting with MTN on 31 March, and will engage with both Vodacom and Icasa after that, according to Ntsika.

“We are going to make a robust decision around this issue,” he says. “The decision has to be to the benfit of our members.”

BITF president Mdu Mkhonza tells TechCentral that the body wants to “make its voice heard”.
“We are aware this process might end up with the Competition Tribunal after it’s been at the Competition Commission. And if it comes to that, we would want to make our position and concerns known at that stage,” Mkhonza says.  — © 2015 NewsCentral Media

21 Comments

  1. I’m also going to say something awesome and important next week. I don’t know what it is yet, but it will blow all your minds!

  2. Gordon Malope on

    In my view, as a citizen of SA in the ICT industry and as an ordinary person, this deal should benefit the Rural Areas and also benefit young Black SMME’s in the ICT sector. So therefore, I fully support this deal only if the BITF influences it that it must be structured with conditions that will benefit the majority of it’s members. ICASA must not compromise this deal!!! Viva Transformation!

  3. Retselisitsoe Leballo on

    It is important that in the discussion of this Deal, all parties have a common result in mind. It shouldn’t be about who will be bigger that the other in the industry. Therefore if the main idea, as the BITF pronouces, is to benefit young people in industry as well as the society at large; we fully support the stand taken by the BITF. It is pleasing to see the BITF standing for our people.

  4. Sanele Mbhele on

    It is a great honour to see the Treasury General and the President of the BITF working on this Vodacom/Neotel Deal. However, Black IT Forum must not let this deal to go through without having set clear benefits for our members because such deals in SA came and went and our people remained poor. VIVA Black IT Forum! The faith of the people is with you.

  5. I for one support the Black IT forum, its good that business men like Mr Ntsika, Mr Mfuleni and Mr Mkhonza think of empowering black professionals because nowa days people think for themselves only. This opportunity will open doors for black people to push them into successful businesses especially when they have Black IT Forum on their side, so why not support, its time that we as black people benefit also. I say 100% thumbs UP!!!

  6. Lineo Matata on

    With a people-oriented style like , you focus on organizing, supporting, and developing the members

  7. WHY ARE THERE A BLACK ONLY FORUMS!!

    IF A WHITE PERSON CREATED SUCH A FORUM THEY WOULD BE DEEMED RACIST!!

    WHY ARE WE BEING SEPARATED!!!

    FVCKING RACISTS! THE LOT OF THEM!!

  8. WHY ARE THERE A BLACK ONLY FORUMS!!

    IF A WHITE PERSON CREATED SUCH A FORUM THEY WOULD BE DEEMED RACIST!!

    WHY ARE WE BEING SEPARATED!!!

    FVCKING RACISTS! THE LOT OF THEM!!!

  9. WHY ARE THERE A BLACK ONLY FORUMS!!

    IF A WHITE PERSON CREATED SUCH A FORUM THEY WOULD BE DEEMED RACIST!!

    WHY ARE WE BEING SEPARATED!!!

    FVCKING RACISTS! THE LOT OF THEM!!!!

  10. WHY ARE THERE A BLACK ONLY FORUMS!!

    IF A WHITE PERSON CREATED SUCH A FORUM THEY WOULD BE DEEMED RACIST!!

    WHY ARE WE BEING SEPARATED!!!

    FVCKING RACISTS! THE LOT OF THEM!!!!!!

  11. WHY ARE THERE A BLACK ONLY FORUMS!!
    IF A WHITE PERSON CREATED SUCH A FORUM THEY WOULD BE DEEMED RACIST!!
    WHY ARE WE BEING SEPARATED!!!
    RACISTS! THE LOT OF THEM!!!!

  12. khotzo hlobelo on

    First of all i would like to thank BLACK IT FORUM to avail itself for this deal and whatever the decision that will be taken it would not compromise all the members at large.ICASA must also put into consideration if the decision is made against VODACOM and NEOTEL is liquidated most people will lose jobs.BITF should also explain what we as the blacks will benefit in all this.

  13. WHY ARE THERE A BLACK ONLY FORUMS!!IF A WHITE PERSON CREATED SUCH A FORUM THEY WOULD BE DEEMED RACIST!!
    WHY ARE WE BEING SEPARATED!!!
    RACISTS! THE LOT OF THEM!!!!!!!

  14. Sanele Mbhele on

    Pros

    Following the story of Vodacom/Neotel Deal I would like to quote an article by Duncan McLeod released on the 18 January 2015 00:00:

    “Neotel has spectrum in the 800megahertz, 1.8gigahertz and 3.5GHz bands. It is the only operator with access to the 800MHz band, which forms part of the digital dividend. Vodacom will want to repurpose that spectrum for 4G broadband.

    But the operator is promising more than just a more robust mobile broadband network. It says it will invest billions in a fixed-line network in the coming years, taking broadband fibre to a million end points “within a reasonable timeframe” and building the wireline competitor to Telkom that South Africans had hoped Neotel would be when it was launched almost a decade ago.”

    I further quote:

    “The digital dividend is well suited to building robust urban broadband coverage using 4G/LTE technologies and extending those services into rural areas”

    This means that Vodacom will need to establish and empower Black ICT SMME’s (Strong Capacity Building) in the Provinces/Regions to achieve the objective of “taking broadband fibre to a million end points “within a reasonable timeframe” and building the wireline competitor to Telkom that South Africans had hoped Neotel would be when it was launched almost a decade ago.”

    It is only through that objective that BITF should support the deal.

  15. Retselisitsoe Leballo on

    Concerns with ICASA is that from time to time when it comes to decisions of this nature, they seem to delay the processes of making correct decisions and positive implementations. For instance, SA was supposed to have migrated from Analogue Signal to Digital but the roll out has not even began and the deadline was set as the year 2015.

    Now the focus here should not only be on the operators [MTN, Cell C and Vodacom] competing or disputes on the deal because as I have stated above, ICASA has a problem or is a problem in delaying such processes and as a result, they fail.

  16. Andrew Fraser on

    “.. we would want to make our position and concerns known at that stage” We don’t exactly know what our position is, and we’ve made it very clear to the media and the public, that no matter what our position is, it will be robust. Robust and firm. Robust, firm and forceful.

  17. Oh, please. Blame the right parties (or Party). The DoC has delayed this process for over seven years.
    Now the Headboy-in-Chief has delayed it even further by obfuscating the issue by appointing TWO Ministers, neither of whom seems to agree on who is doing what.

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