PRETORIA, Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo has welcomed the successful recapitalisation of mobile operator Cell C, which was made possible by a subscription for shares from Blue Label Telecoms amounting to 5.5 billion Rand (about 412 million US dollars) and a further subscription from Net1 for 2.0 billion Rand.

Following the transactions, Cell C, the country's third ranking mobile operator, sees Blue Label Telecoms holding 45 per cent of its equity, 3C Telecommunications holding 30 per cent (of which 29.4 per cent are held by the Employee Believe Trust, 45.6 per cent by Oger Telecoms and 25 per cent by broad-based black empowerment grouping CellSAf). Other shareholders are Net1 with 15 per cent and 10 per cent by Cell C management and staff.

The ownership of the company by South African shareholders has increased from 25 per cent to above 86 per cent and the participation of historically disadvantaged persons in Cell C has increased from around 25 per cent to more than 30 per cent at ownership level. This means that Cell C management and staff now have the opportunity for the first time to participate in the equity of the company.

Dlodlo said Monday that she was pleased that the transaction had significantly increased the South African ownership of Cell C, and further saved an estimated 2,500 direct and 15,000 indirect jobs.

We recognize that the cost to communicate is too high for the majority of South Africans and the government would like to see this reduced significantly, including the cost of data. To support the broadening of access to information for all our citizens, it is imperative to intensify competition in the South African telecommunications industry, she added.

She wished Cell C well in its new journey.

Meanwhile, the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services said Tuesday that the investment was significant because it saved Cell C and prevented the monopolisation of the telecommunications industry, in line with government policies, such as the National Integrated Policy, which advocate for the opening up the sector to new players, particularly to blacks and small players.

It is when the industry is open and deconcentrated that we, as citizens, may realise the call for Data Must Fall, through effective competition and innovation that also improves the quality of service," the department added.

We call upon Cell C management to prioritise transformation, job creation and join our partnership to ensure that all South Africans are connected to affordable and reliable internet by the end of 2020, Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Dr Siyabonga Cwele Minister Cwele, said.


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