Chaos at Telkom

2010-12-10 10:15

Johannesburg - A lengthy dossier prepared by the Communications Workers Union (CWU) has plunged Telkom [JSE:TKG] into a state of crisis.

The dossier accuses senior Telkom executives of corruption and nepotism. The documents in the dossier consist of internal emails, accounts of whistleblowers and other documents.

Acting group CEO Jeffrey Hedberg and head of Telkom South Africa Nombulelo Moholi are two of the executives under attack in the dossier.

It accuses Hedberg of running Multi-Links, Telkom's Nigerian subsidiary, into the ground and hiring former Cell C executives at high cost. Hedberg was CEO of Cell C before joining Telkom.

Allegations relating to Moholi target her husband's relation to Hezeki Contracting, which does work for Telkom.

Moholi retaliated on Friday morning with a personal statement defending her position. In it, Moholi says that Hezeki Contracting was appointed by Telkom before she returned to the company.

"It is alleged that I may not have declared my spouse's interest in the company, Hezeki, which was awarded a contract by the board in November 2008," she said.

"It is important to note that I was not in the employ of Telkom from December 1 2005 to April 30 2009, the period in question."

"Nevertheless, on joining the company all employees are requested to fill in and continuously update a conflict of interest form. This was duly done and can be confirmed by the online Telkom compliance form.

"Mr Moholi had indeed purchased (and was not given) shares in Hezeki in 2007, and was forced to sell back those shares to the company in April 2009, in light of his spouse's impending employment at Telkom SA," she said.

Moholi is also accused of being involved in the hiring of a former colleague from Nedbank Group [JSE:NED], Manelisa Mavuso, without due process.

Moholi responded by saying: "The invitation to apply for the SME: consumer position was placed internally in Telkom and simultaneously briefed to a recruitment agency, Spencer Stuart, which sourced Mr Mavuso, a retail marketing veteran from Standard Bank Retail.

"The shortlist included internal and external candidates. The interviews followed a structured process and were supervised by the group's human resources division. Mr Mavuso was recommended by a panel of three Exco members for appointment. Mr Mavuso is not related to me, nor is he a personal friend, and allegations of wrongdoing or nepotism are devoid of any truth."

Moholi suggested that Thabang Mothelo, a Telkom employee and member of the CWU, is behind the accusation relating to Mavuso.

"This ... is simply a pre-emptive allegation by Mr Thabang Mothelo to avoid the ongoing disciplinary action against him on charges of racism, by throwing aspersions on the chairperson of the procedure, Mr Mavuso," she said.

Moholi called all allegations relating to her "unfounded" and "unsubstantiated".

The board of Telkom issued a statement on Thursday in which it also rubbished the dossier's accuracy.

"The board believes that the release of the memoranda is designed to distract them from its ongoing investigations. Some of the allegations in the documents which have been brought into the public domain have tarnished the reputation of Telkom," it said.
"A number of the matters contained in the memoranda are already known to Telkom and are in various stages of investigation. Following a meeting of the audit and risk committee of Telkom's board of Directors, Telkom has decided to state its position on these matters publicly.

"The Telkom board and in particular the audit and risk committee has already taken decisive action on the findings of several investigations into matters at Telkom and its Nigerian subsidiary, Multi-Links, over the last year."

It added that investigations are under way and that independent auditors have been appointed in this regard.

It seems clear that individual vendettas against Telkom are behind the release of the dossier.

However, some allegations, especially those relating to RSSS security that Telkom has appointed to combat cable theft, are highly suspect.

The truth, as usual, probably lies somewhere between the dossier's extreme claims and the suggestions by Telkom that it is under fire from employees who face disciplinary action.

  • Nick - 2010-12-10 10:42

    Corruption? At Telkom? - Now there's a shock - I never saw ha one coming... LOL.

  • Nico - 2010-12-10 10:49

    No suprise as the whole government is corrupt - they have a 50% share in Telkom and calls the shots.

  • Pleb - 2010-12-10 10:58

    So what's new - scum business run by scumbags just like all parastatal

  • Sour lemons - 2010-12-10 11:05

    I am not a Telkom fan by any means of the imagination but I must congratulate the response of Mrs Nombulelo Moholi in her statement. to the point, factual and basically shows a middle finger to the CWU dossier. Which I would not be surprised if it was drawn up by heresay and based on revenge tactics.

  • Jack Kukard - 2010-12-10 11:08

    Nothing new , it happens at all our corrupt government enterprises . THE BIG GRAIVY TRAIN for their comrades . Hahahahaha

  • Suiram - 2010-12-10 11:17

    This is an attempt by the racist CWU union to get rid of very good but white CEO. Cwu is running a racist campaign against all whites in Telkom.

  • ingy - 2010-12-10 11:18

    Well here we go again...a few more been caught doing things they are not supposed to be doing. I would like to ask a question, "why is it that every department in SA have so many fraudsters working for them. Surely somehow this can be controlled. I think SA govt and Departments are the worst in the world for thieving and corruption. from the head govt down the the policing deprt.Very scary

  • mike - 2010-12-10 11:21

    What Multinational isn't in chaos??? We all know the bribery and corruption in awarding contracts. As long as these Fatcats are there, it is never going to stop. It's Africa's greatest claim to Fame, Bribery and corruption.

  • Cugar - 2010-12-10 11:24

    Look I work in Telkom - its business as usual. Top management has nothing to do with the actual running of this company. The employees do. Lets face it a company can do without top management - nobody will miss them if they drop dead tommorrow - similarly nobody misses them when they busy playing politics and soap opera in the boardroom !

  • @Sour Lemon - 2010-12-10 11:27

    You telling me she did not know about this at all!!! Bull!! She knew and therefore was compelled to declare the conflict of interest to save herself from being asked to go for the second time. During that period away she knew nothing????? lol

  • Gerhard - 2010-12-10 11:33

    Always nice to pick on some other company to take the spotlight off worse companies like Standard Bank or Eskom

  • Nasdaq7 - 2010-12-10 11:36

    Perhaps they should check everyone's emails... including what websites they visited and what they downloaded and read. As well as their cellphone use and their use of the petrol card. Fair only seems fair. Selectively targeting and highlighting of people is easy. Let everyone have a thorough inspection. From the top to the very bottom.

  • Mr. Havok - 2010-12-10 11:49

    Every one seems to conclude that it is true that the ALLEGATIONS are true, to me it sounds like the disgruntled employee does not have the facts but Mrs. Moholi does. It happens all the time just watch the space a young springbok is trying to wrestle a lion and will only come second.

  • Reaper - 2010-12-10 12:24

    Goverment has to stand up and take responsibility for having Telkom cripple SA's economy and development. Stop wasting our time and money. Make an example of them for their reckless crimes!

  • Jannie - 2010-12-10 12:25

    Nasdaq7 surely know something ? Cugar, your comment is "spot on." You only have to look at any Municipality to notice how wrong your assumption are.

  • Picard - 2010-12-10 12:37

    @Cugar. Unethical behavior, Poor leadership and corruption at the executive levels trickle through an organization slowly but surely. Don't expect employees to be held accountable for poor performance and service if the execs can't even control themselves.

  • james - 2010-12-10 12:47

    Many years ago when there were morals in evidence I had to resort to requesting the spouse of one of our employees to resign since the other spouse had joined a competing company and he/she during pillow talk could divulge very sensitive business information. Now of course with all the "rights" that people enjoy, that would not have been possible.

  • Xram62 - 2010-12-10 13:07

    The wors for me is.....where does the money come from that these individuals squander and steal so regularly??? FROM MY POCKET!!! AND YOURS, AND YOURS, AND YOURS.....!!!!

  • ANC Freedom fighter. - 2010-12-10 14:11

    The corruption of the previous apartheid is simply continuing into the new South Africa. Politics is about access to capital (money) . Most of the senior executives in the corporate world are corrupt as well.

  • blog8r - 2010-12-10 14:47

    hmmm... Telkom sent all their heros from the WC2010 to work in Brasil.

  • WB - 2010-12-10 15:19

    Putting Telkom is a bad light publicly which affect sthe share price etc. cant possibly be good for the workers. How's this helping the workers of Telkom that the union is supposed to protect?

  • Nasdaq7 - 2010-12-10 15:33

    ANC Freedom fighter corruption in the previous apartheid government? The white dominated apartheid government didn't have the luxury to be corrupt: things are 100x worse under the ANC. The apartheid government had to fight off the USSR and had to deal with the attacks by the ANC on police, the army and airforce, civilians and strikes. While dealing with wars in Angola, Namibia, Rhodesia and economic sanctions: GDP was growing about at the same pace as it is currently growing. Inflation was much higher at 10%+. But government accounting was for most part of it - spot on. The roads were maintained. Services were being delivered. So there wasn't much time for corruption. Inflation -1% was the yearly salary increases during apartheid. Few came out of government millionaires. Government employees had to work hard because trade levels were thin and the nation was at war. Now what can we say about the ANC ...? The average government salary is 28% higher than those employed in the private sector ( 2010 ). Strikes are still common. As well as a lack of good quality service delivery ... everywhere. Especially at schools and municipalities. Reflect upon that. The country is actually going backwards. That's my assessment after everything I wrote.

  • @@sour lemons - 2010-12-10 16:13

    Dude, can you read.. Firstly your statement of "you telling me she did not know anything about this" I seriously cannot even answer that because I am not sure what you are referring to. the second part of your comment of she was to declare the conflict of interest..she did declare the conflict of interest and then even goes above that and lists where anybody can get the information to back this claim up from. Your third part of your comment is basically repeating your first part so again left me confused.. Maybe if you try and read the article subjectively you can come with a stronger argument................................. Toss!!

  • fair play - 2010-12-10 16:29

    When I read stuff like this I wonder why I never have reason to complain about Telkom. Their service is always spot on and professional. NO.....I do not work for them

  • anton - 2010-12-10 16:34

    Looks to me like the allegations were fairly reasonably replied to. Its easy to dig 'dirt' on anybody, but these seem just a tad lame.

  • Realist1 - 2010-12-10 17:02


  • Mandla - 2010-12-10 18:14

    Even the skilled like teh likes of Jeffrey Hedberg are "corrupt"?

  • Josh - 2010-12-11 10:17

    Why corrupt? Telkom charges so much they are already stealing most of our cash, do they need more? Guess so.

  • Hein - 2010-12-12 02:21

    Education, population control and a depoliticized democracy is the only way out.There is no doubt in my mind that all corruption stems from, and could be halted by, the government.Our "ruling" party has its fingers in all pies. They count on the fact that the majority of voters don't really know what is cooking and even though Vavi says he is shocked by the corruption of the "elite" he will still sell his workers out and support the Arrogance Nepotism and Corruption.

  • jay - 2011-01-14 10:45

    The problem with Telkom management is most of them are outdated and stuck with the Poskantoor mentality.Requires a total revamp of Management.

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