Telkom under fire over communists' dinner - TechCentral

Telkom under fire over communists’ dinner

Telkom is under fire from Democratic Alliance MP and shadow communications minister Marian Shinn, who has accused the partially state-owned telecommunications operator of being “one of the main sponsors of the SA Communist Party’s 91st celebratory dinner” held at the weekend.

“One has to question the decision to fund a party-political event,” Shinn says.

“The government owns 39,8% of Telkom [and]if the stake [held]by the Public Investment Corp is included, the SA public has a 51% investment in Telkom,” she says. “That means that SA citizens paid, at least in part, for the lavish dinner enjoyed by SACP comrades.”

Shinn says she intends asking questions in parliament to establish how much was spent on the “sponsorship” of the dinner and how Telkom justified the spending. “One struggles to imagine how this expenditure would contribute to the strategic objectives of the telecoms operator.”

She adds that communications minister Dina Pule “has some explaining to do”.

“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,” Shinn says. “Minister Pule should therefore ensure that our investment in Telkom is protected.”

TechCentral has e-mailed a set of questions to Telkom about who from the company attended the dinner, how much it spent on it and what it hoped to achieve from the investment.

All the company is saying right now is that it “did not sponsor the SACP congress” but that it “bought a table at the dinner in order to entertain its stakeholders”.  — (c) 2012 NewsCentral Media

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