Twenty-five years ago the government opened up to the idea of privatising state assets by selling a 30% stake in Telkom to the Thintana group. The big idea was to illustrate the new ANC government’s embrace of big international capital, and also to secure a windfall from the sale of the stake.

At that stage the world of communications was still dominated by fixed-line operators like Telkom, even though the advance of mobile operators was slowly gathering steam across the globe. Since then the evolution of Telkom from a monolithic business to an agile operator able to compete with its bigger rivals — MTN and Vodacom — has been a story of steady progress...

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