Telecel engaging to resume operations
TELECEL Zimbabwe says it was taking government’s recent cancellation of its license and shareholding non-compliance, very seriously and was working towards being compliant with the ministry.
In a statement on Friday, Telecel said its shareholders we engaging with relevant stakeholders and were “working closely and tirelessly with all key authorities to find a lasting solution to the issue”.
“We remain fully committed to Zimbabwe and to working with the government in order to comply with all legal and regulatory requirements within the agreed timeframe. Telecel Zimbabwe takes very seriously its legal, financial, operational and social responsibilities,” the company said in a statement
Telecel says it serves over two million customers in Zimbabwe and was a fully paid-up abiding tax contributor.
“We have invested an estimated US$237million into the country’s mobile infrastructure since inception in 1998. Currently, we employ over 1 000 permanent and contract employees,” said Telecel
Addressing journalists on Wednesday ICT Minister Supa Mandiwanzira said Telecel was supposed to stop operations.
“Our position is that Telecel should cease operations because they have been operating without a licence. This is the position that has already been adopted by Cabinet. There is a Cabinet Committee in place to execute the decision of cabinet. That committee is being chaired by Indigenisation Minister Chris Mushowe.
“Our position that Telecel has been operating without a licence and failed to honour local empowerment laws is the same position that has been adopted by Cabinet,” said Mandiwanzira.
Telecel, the second largest mobile operator after Strive Masiwa’s Econet, Wireless.
He said although government’s position is that Telecel Zimbabwe does not have an operating license the authorities is now following necessary laws to deal with the issue of non compliance by the mobile operator.
“Government does not operate in a manner that is unfair to the other parties; we will follow processes and those processes are underway to deal with that issue. Government will deal with this issue knowing that there are employees involved and also subscribers in mind but not withstanding the law is the law,” said Minister Mandiwanzira.
“Government will be guided by the fact that there are employees there and that there are subscribers who might be affected. But our position as the ICT Ministry has not changed,” said Mandiwanzira.
In January, the Postal and Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) wrote to Telecel Zimbabwe Management notifying them that they were withdrawing their operating licence due to non-compliance with local empowerment laws.
Telecel, a subsidiary of Orascom Telecom Company owns 60 percent shareholding in Telecel Zimbabwe while the remaining 40 percent is still held by Empowerment Corporation although an EGM of shareholders recently approved its disposal to Brainworks Capital. A group of shareholders in the group is contesting the US$20 million transaction.
Telecel says contributes US$700 000 annually through its on-going CSR program, which is aimed at making a difference in the lives of various Zimbabwean communities. We have been, and remain, supportive to the continued development of the country, including ensuring the universal access to mobile communications services by all people at affordable prices.