BT eyes SA stake

Zweli Mokgata

Zweli Mokgata

UK-based technology group British Telecommunications has strengthened its resolve to penetrate the South African market through a BEE deal.

BT South Africa sold a 30percent stake to JSE-listed investment financing company in a deal worth R25million.

Brian Armstrong, BT's vice president for the Middle East and Africa, said the company was not worried about the economic crisis that has gripped world economies this year.

"Our investment in South Africa is not an overnight thing.

"We have been here for 16 years and we have a long-term commitment to the country, and BEE is a key part of that.

"BT South Africa is not a small satellite to the larger group, but is fully integrated into the global business," Armstrong said.

Half of BT's business in the entire Middle East and Africa region is in South Africa where the company is growing rapidly.

Out of 300 IT experts in the region, 120 are in South Africa.

BT employs more than 37000 people worldwide, operates in more than 170 countries and recorded revenues of around R95billion in its latest annual financial results.

Sekunjalo was established in 1996 and has since built up a portfolio of investments in the industrial and manufacturing sector, as well as the technology and innovation sectors.

Mohamed Kajee, chief executive of Sekunjalo, said: "We are quite strong in the public sector and are currently involved in a lot of government tender work.

"This partnership will allow us to leverage these tenders and ensure that we have access to capabilities (through BT) that we are unable to provide ourselves."

Kgaogelo Matjakana, senior analyst at economic empowerment rating and research agency Empowerdex, said Sekunjalo was one of the most empowered companies listed on the JSE.

She said: "The company has a black ownership of 92percent and black representation on its board of 66,7percent.

"Their compliance with the rest of the BEE scorecard is quite good, as they don't rely just on management and ownership."