Privatisation under fire in Telkom debate

Privatisation came under fire on Tuesday afternoon in a debate in the National Assembly on the planned retrenchment of 7 600 workers at South Africa’s semi-privatised fixed-line telephone monopoly Telkom.

Leading the debate, Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Mulder said: “With a profit of more than R4-billion, Telkom announced their intention to reduce their headcount by 7 600 in the next three years. The CEO gets an increase and 7 000 people lose their jobs. Is this what privatisation is all about?”

Referring to Telkom worker Piet Erasmus, who has been retrenched, Mulder said: “While he was struggling to survive, he read in the newspaper that the CEO at Telkom received a salary of R11-million. That is R30 000 a day. I repeat, R30 000 a day. Telkom directors were paid R60-million last year. One American [director] received over R15-million.”

Mulder said: “Telkom management says they act on instructions from their board of directors. Who is the main shareholder in Telkom? They surely can do something.”

Pointing out that the main shareholder in Telkom is the South African government, he said until now there has been no real reaction from the government.

“Is it possible that the same government that promised in April to help create jobs now helps to destroy 7 600 jobs?”

Mulder said he wants the Assembly to meet Erasmus, “a Telkom employee. At the end of this year he would have completed 18 years as a loyal employee of Telkom. In the last five years, he was part of a team that installed more than two million new telephone lines — most of them in disadvantaged areas.

“He was proud to make a real contribution to better the lives of these people and to better South Africa. When he heard that Telkom made a profit of more than R4,5-billion in the past financial year, he was very excited. He predicted that Telkom’s management will thank them as workers for this achievement and that a personal bonus is a possibility.

“What really happened? The next thing he heard was that he would be retrenched by Telkom. He has a wife and three children. All his efforts to get a new job failed. Within months, the family will be without money. Most probably Piet will join these men on street corners with despair in their eyes.

“He asks what this people’s contract to create jobs and to fight poverty really means. From his perspective, the government creates poverty and fights jobs.” — I-Net Bridge

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Eastern Cape universities concerned by rising Covid cases

Fort Hare says 26 more students have tested positive while Walter Sisulu University says some of its students have been admitted to hospital.

Institutions of higher learning should commemorate their casualties

The bust of Matikweni Nkuna at Tshwane University of Technology is an example of how we should honour those who fought for equal access to education

Seals abort pups in mass die-off

There are a number of factors — a pollutant, virus or bacteria or malnutrition — that may have caused the 12 000 deaths on Namibia’s coast.

Deconstructing South Africa’s construction industry performance

The construction industry has contracted sharply, partly due to Covid, and needs to rebalance its focus if it wants to survive

Editorial: SA will be bankrupted by looters

The chickens have finally come home to roost: if we do not end the looting, it will end us

Cape quakes no concern for Koeberg

Last week’s tremor has anti-nuclear campaigners questioning the safety of Koeberg, although the nuclear facility said the plant is designed to sustain a magnitude-seven earthquake

Subscribers only

SAA bailout raises more questions

As the government continues to grapple with the troubles facing the airline, it would do well to keep on eye on the impending Denel implosion

ANC’s rogue deployees revealed

Despite 6 300 ANC cadres working in government, the party’s integrity committee has done little to deal with its accused members

More top stories

Hawks swoop down with more arrests in R1.4-billion corruption blitz

The spate of arrests for corruption continues apace in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape.

Catholic NGO boss accused of racism and abuse in Sudan

The aid worker allegedly called his security guard a ‘slave’

Agrizzi too ill to be treated at Bara?

The alleged crook’s “health emergency” — if that is what it is — shows up the flaws, either in our health system or in our leadership as a whole

SANDF hid R200m expenditure on ‘Covid’ drug it can’t use

Military health officials are puzzled by the defence department importing a drug that has not been approved for treating coronavirus symptoms from Cuba

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday