Telkom suspends three top officials

Telecommunications group Telkom has suspended three executives—Pinky Moholi, Belinda Williams and Oupa Magashula—pending an inquiry, it emerged on Monday.

Telkom corporate communications executive Lulu Letlape told the Mail & Guardian Online that the three executives were asked to take a “leave of absence” pending an internal probe.

“[It’s a] confidential matter between an employer and an employee,” she said.

She declined to comment any further on the matter, saying it was a “private matter”.

Chief sales and marketing officer Moholi—who was expected to resign—was believed to be unhappy following Reuben September’s promotion to his current post of chief operations officer.
September’s elevation to the second-highest position was seen as an indirect demotion for Moholi, but Letlape denied this, reported I-Net Bridge.

September was promoted more than two weeks ago when the new structure was placed under the leadership of newly appointed CEO Papi Molotsane. September’s previous post of chief technical officer was filled by Thami Msimango.

Williams, who is now the head of investor relations, was previously chief of corporate affairs reporting to the CEO directly. But with the reshuffling announced by Telkom chairperson Nomazizi Mtshotshisa, Williams now reports to her successor—Mandla Ngcobo.

Prior to the reshuffling, she was responsible for corporate communication as well as investor relations. Letlape said the listed phone group was not aware that Williams was unhappy with the new dispensation.

A few other bosses who used to report to the CEO now report to Ngcobo.

Although unpopular with the labour unions, Magashula—group executive of human resources—is hailed for ensuring that Telkom staff numbers stayed within the target range.

While Moholi was widely expected to succeed Sizwe Nxasana as Telkom CEO, Mtshotshisa said the suspended executive did not apply for the position in the first place.

The reshuffle of the top structure, “streamlined to ensure optimal reporting”, also meant that Magashula and Moholi would report to September and not to the CEO directly as was previously the case, Letlape added.

Solidarity spokesperson David Durie said the organisation was “shocked” about the suspensions, adding that the trade union would issue a statement in due course. The Communications Workers’ Union was not available for comment.

On Monday, Telkom shares surrendered 351 cents or 2,8% to finish at R122 per share from their close of R125,51 on Friday.—I-Net Bridge

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