Communications minister Dina Pule’s technical adviser, Roy Kruger, said on Tuesday that selling 20% of Telkom’s equity to Korea’s KT Corp would have amounted to “giving away” a fifth of “our country’s asset” and was a “rubbish” deal. He also insinuated that outgoing Telkom CEO Nombulelo Moholi was part of the “problem”.
At the same time, Kruger tore strips off e.tv, accusing the free-to-air broadcaster of delaying South Africa’s migration from analogue to digital terrestrial television by taking Pule to court to challenge her decision to make state-owned Sentech the manager of the conditional access system to be used in digital set-top boxes.
Speaking about the KT Corp deal, Kruger told an audience made up mainly of telecommunications industry executives that Telkom was “approached” by the Korean company to “do some consulting”. He made the remarks at a conference in Cape Town organised by the FTTH Council Africa.
“Somewhere along the line, this got distorted and it ended up with them wanting to buy 20% [of its equity],” Kruger said. “When we investigated it, all we were doing was to give KT 20% of our country’s asset. Which is rubbish.”
He then insinuated that Moholi was the part of the problem at Telkom. “So where’s the problem?” he asked the audience. “Well, that’s for you guys to think where the problem is,” he said, before adding: “You may have read [about it] in the paper last week.”
On e.tv’s lawsuit against Pule, challenging the decision to hand over management of the conditional access system for digital terrestrial television to Sentech, Kruger lashed out at the broadcaster, accusing it of delaying the migration away from analogue technology. E.tv wants free-to-air broadcasters to manage the system.
“E.tv decided to take us to court for some stupid reason, so they’ve held up the project and, until the judge makes a decision, e.tv are the ones holding us up. They’re holding up your spectrum and they’re holding up the whole country,” he told his audience.
“E.tv thinks the minister doesn’t have the power to appoint Sentech to actually operate our 5m boxes we are subsidising,” he said. Hopefully the judge makes a decision this week. If a minister is a government employee and Sentech is a government company, and the minister wants a government company to run the government boxes, I don’t know why the judge would say it’s not [correct].” — (c) 2012 NewsCentral Media