It seems that Telkom, the one-time 800-pound gorilla of the telecoms sector that fell on hard times once the mobile boom swept SA, hasn’t lost its aptitude for unfair competition. Almost unnoticed a few weeks ago, trade & industry minister Rob Davies published a notice in the government gazette flagging his intention to grant Telkom "broad-based BEE facilitator status". In effect, that mouthful means simply that any company doing business with Telkom must treat it as if it had 100% black ownership, when it tallies up its empowerment score. In other words, Telkom, which is 40.5% owned by the government, is getting an artificial leg up on its competitors. As you can imagine, Telkom’s rivals are hardly charmed by this turn of events. Mteto Nyati, CEO of Altron, says the rest of the industry needs to take a stand against this. "Telkom owns BCX, Openserve and Telkom Mobile, which are focused on selling to other businesses, and that’s where BEE is critical. So, for example, Vodacom will b...

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