Vodacom listed its Tanzanian unit on the local stock exchange two years ago following pressure from the government to increase domestic ownership.. Picture: BLOOMBERG/WALDO SWIEGERS
Vodacom listed its Tanzanian unit on the local stock exchange two years ago following pressure from the government to increase domestic ownership.. Picture: BLOOMBERG/WALDO SWIEGERS

Vodacom has created a stand-alone SA unit, in a move meant to simplify its structure following the recent expansion of its African portfolio, including financial and digital services.

SA’s largest network operator took management responsibility for Vodafone Ghana from April, and entered into a joint venture with its Kenyan affiliate, Safaricom, to acquire the M-Pesa brand from Vodafone. The two operators have also expressed interest in bidding for an Ethiopian telecommunications licence as part of a consortium.

Vodacom said these developments had necessitated the creation of a stand-alone unit in the operator's home market.

As group CEO, veteran telecoms executive Shameel Joosub has, until now, overseen the business in SA, as well as group operations.

The SA unit will be led by Balesh Sharma, currently director of special projects at Vodafone, as MD for Vodacom SA. He will report directly to Joosub and joins the group's executive committee with effect from July 1.

Sharma will be joined by new technology director Beverly Ngwenya, and financial director Sitho Mdlalose, as part the new Vodacom SA executive team.

In a statement, Joosub said: “The stellar financial performance of our international portfolio combined with the added responsibility of managing Vodafone Ghana and accelerating the growth of financial and digital services, means that we needed to put the right structure in place to deliver on our ambition of becoming a leading Pan African technology company.”

“This includes the decoupling of Vodacom SA as a stand-alone business,” Joosub said.

“Under Balesh’s leadership, I am confident that the increased focus will leverage the numerous opportunities that exist in SA from both our traditional telco business and our technology-focused growth acceleration units. The new structure will also place heightened emphasis on our international portfolio and new growth areas to ensure that we continue to diversify our revenue streams.”

gavazam@businesslive.co.za