Business

Telkom 'workers' submit letter of fraud, employment grievances

Chris Spillane

A letter to the company secretary from a group of anonymous people claiming to be employees has urged Telkom to act on a series of allegations.

Telkom is struggling to revive revenue in a country that has leapfrogged fixed-line technology in favour of smartphone devices that are driving a boom in data usage across Africa. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

Telkom is reviewing a letter of complaint it received from a group of unidentified people claiming to be employees. The grievances focus on the hiring of company executives and the alleged misuse of funds.

"The company notes the contents of the letter and is dealing with the matter in accordance with its whistleblowing policy and process," Telkom said in an e-mailed response to questions on Monday. "As such, Telkom is unable to respond to queries that relate to matters contained in the letter of complaint whilst these processes are under way."

The letter, addressed to company secretary Xoliswa Makasi and seen by Bloomberg News, asks the Pretoria-based company to act on a series of allegations. It's signed by "The Group of 6 Telkom Whistle-blowers/employees."

Telkom, which is 40% owned by government, is struggling to revive revenue in South Africa, which has leapfrogged fixed-line technology in favour of smartphone devices that are driving a boom in data usage across Africa.

Revenue has declined every year since 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The eight-page letter was written by staff working at the company's finance, sponsorship, secretarial/administration, legal and ethics departments, according to the document. The document was also sent to Boston-based management consultancy Bain & Co, which has a contract to help turnaround the company, and New York-based recruitment company Spencer Stuart, according to the copy provided to Bloomberg.

"It is impossible to ascertain the veracity, or otherwise, of allegations made," Telkom said on January 17 in a response to questions.

The company urged the authors of the document to use official company channels to lay complaints and said those channels were used to decide on an "appropriate course of action." – Bloomberg

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