Motlanthe wants FM story retracted

2009-10-22 07:39

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has instructed his legal

representatives to demand an apology from the Financial Mail for an article

published last month.

Replying to questions in the National Assembly on Wednesday,

Motlanthe said the allegations contained in the article “are devoid of any


Motlanthe said he had only recently become aware of an ITWeb

article that contained similar allegations, and his legal representatives would

follow the same course of action.

Motlanthe was asked by Independent Democrats leader Patricia de

Lille whether he attended a particular meeting called by President Jacob Zuma to

which the CEO of a certain company was invited.

While De Lille had provided details of the meeting and company to

Motlanthe, her published question did not.

However, according to an article published in the Financial Mail on

September 18, barely two days after his inauguration in May this year, Zuma

summoned Telkom CEO Reuben September to his Forest Town, Johannesburg,


Also present at the meeting was Motlanthe, among others.

The article said Zuma went straight to the heart of the matter. He

wanted the Vodacom deal cancelled.

“Telkom had sold its 15% stake in Vodacom to Vodafone for an

estimated R22.5?billion, thus handing control of Vodacom to the British

cellphone giant. September protested: the deal had gone through and the cheque

was already in the bank. What’s more, Vodacom was to be listed on the JSE within

a week.”

The article said though then president Thabo Mbeki must have given

the nod for negotiations to begin, Motlanthe was president when cabinet gave

final approval for the deal.

“This time, with Zuma in the room, Motlanthe could make only

perfunctory remarks. The matter could not be resolved. September said his

good-byes and left.”

The article said the same ploy was tried on Vodacom and its CEO

Pieter Uys.

Subsequently, Cosatu, “with the Independent Communications

Authority of SA (Icasa) meekly in tow”, made an urgent application to the high

court on a Sunday, the eve of the Vodacom listing, in a desperate attempt to

stop the deal, the article said.

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