No Springbok invasion at TelOne, NetOne this year, but on priority list for revamp

27 Oct 2010

Zimbabwean newspaper Sunday News reported that four state-owned enterprises have been scheduled for restructuring before the end of this year, although incumbent PSTN operator TelOne is not on the list. However, State Enterprises Minister Gorden Moyo said progress had also been made towards restructuring at six other companies – including TelOne, which has been earmarked for part-privatisation – although in these cases it was less likely that results would be achieved by year-end. Also on the secondary list of six – which includes the likes of Air Zimbabwe and National Railways of Zimbabwe – is state-owned GSM mobile operator NetOne. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database says that in February 2010 the government confirmed MTN South Africa was among ‘several’ foreign companies that had expressed interest in buying a stake in NetOne; in late 2009 MTN and NetOne signed a non-disclosure agreement on their ongoing negotiations. Telkom South Africa, meanwhile, is reportedly eyeing a stake in TelOne, which has also confirmed negotiating with a foreign suitor under a secrecy pact.

Over 70 state holdings have been earmarked for restructuring, under a Corporate Governance Framework which seeks among other things to compel the firms to submit audited financial statements and hold annual general meetings. Early this year, Moyo instructed the parastatals to disclose audited results by the end of October, and most of the organisations’ financial reports are now reportedly with the Auditor-General. ‘The main problem is that some of the parastatals last presented their results more than five years [ago] and it is not easy to reconcile the books in a short time. But I understand a lot of the companies have now presented their results and the Auditor-General’s office has hired an independent auditing company to help look into the results,’ explained the minister.

Zimbabwe, NetOne, TelOne