MTN is implementing Zakhele, its BEE deal. (Image: Bongani Nkosi) MTN, the biggest mobile phone operator in Africa, has finally launched its R8.1-billion (US$1.1-billion) broad-based black economic empowerment (BEE) shares scheme in South Africa.This is welcome news for current and potential investors, as the deal has been on the cards for two years now and looked set to be plagued by further delays in July 2010, when it was announced there were “severe constraints in financial markets”.The name of the new BEE scheme is Zakhele, which means “built it yourself” in local Nguni languages. It came into effect on 30 August.MTN is inviting share applications from previously disadvantaged black South Africans, which by law includes African, coloured, Indian and Chinese citizens. Individuals and groups can apply for shares.The 4% equity deal will increase the group’s BEE ownership, which currently stands at 29.9% when combined with its other economic empowerment initiatives like the Asonge scheme facilitated by the National Empowerment Fund in 2007.MTN Zakhele is the largest empowerment deal in South Africa’s telecommunications industry history, following Vodacom’s R7.5-billion ($1-billion) BEE scheme in 2008. The Vodacom deal also targeted previously disadvantaged black South Africans and benefited the group’s partners, Royal Bafokeng Holdings and Thebe Investment Corporation.“MTN believes that broad-based BEE participation is important to its future success as a group,” MTN president and CEO Phuthuma Nhleko said in a statement.The group has supported black empowerment since 1994 and will seek to provide long-term and sustainable benefits to black South Africans, Nhleko said.“It is for this reason that we have structured the new MTN BEE transaction through an offer to the black public, acting as far as possible within the letter and the spirit of the codes and empowerment requirements for South African businesses.”Karel Pienaar, MTN South Africa managing director, said in July that the empowerment transaction “will enhance MTN SA’s BEE credentials and supplement other areas of the BEE scorecard such as preferential procurement, skills development, employment equity and enterprise development”.Black investors who qualify for the scheme are being offered shares at R20 ($2.70) apiece. The minimum investment amount is 100 shares, which is worth R2 000 ($270).MTN and the Public Investment Corporation have made 75-million shares available through the Zakhele scheme, which is planned to run for six years.MTN black employees will also benefitThe group said it will offer about 0.1% of its issued share capital to its Employee Share Ownership Plan to benefit BEE-eligible employees. Management and directors of the JSE-listed company will not be allowed to participate in this scheme.MTN is a big player in South Africa and creates stiff competition for other local operators like Vodacom and Cell C. It’s a multinational firm, operating in 21 African countries and the Middle East. In 2006 it had 40-million subscribers, and this number has been growing ever since.
The BJP in West Bengal is planning to rope in Hindutva preacher Swami Aseemanand, who was acquitted in the Mecca Masjid blast case earlier this week, to strengthen its base, its State unit chief said here on Thursday.“I have personally known Swami Aseemanand for a long time. I will talk to him and try to bring him to West Bengal so that he can work here. For a long time, he has worked among the tribals in Bengal. He can help us in a lot of ways,” BJP State president Dilip Ghosh said.A special anti-terror court on Monday acquitted the 66-year-old self-confessed monk and four others in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case, holding that the prosecution failed to prove “even a single allegation” against them.Aseemanand’s younger brother, Sushanta Sarkar, is presently secretary of the BJP’s Hooghly unit.Mr. Sarkar said he would be happy if his brother returned to the State to work. “Our entire family is dedicated towards the Sangh Parivar. If my brother comes to Bengal and wants to work here, we will be very happy,” Mr. Sarkar said.A science graduateAseemanand, who was born Naba Kumar Sarkar at Kamarpukur in West Bengal’s Hooghly district, completed his graduation in science in 1971.He became involved with right-wing groups from school, going on to work full time with the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram in Purulia and Bankura districts of the State. It was at the ashram that Naba Kumar Sarkar was christened Swami Aseemanand in 1981.
Shah Rukh KhanShah Rukh Khan stepped out of a swanky Lamborghini and onto a collegiate campus in the city to host a quiz show, looking natty in a formal suit teamed with a scraggy hairdo and rider shades.If the sartorial statement seems like a strange cocktail, only SRK could have pulled it off. For the record, this is the look he will be sporting in his upcoming flick Don 2 and this is the first time that he has unveiled the peculiar fashion statement at a public event in India.The crowd of more than 1,000, who were waiting to welcome the superstar went wild, naturally. In the mini riot that broke out, the fact that King Khan had actually arrived a full three hours after his scheduled time of 1 pm was forgotten. The quiz was scheduled to start at 3pm, but thanks to the superstar’s delayed arrival could only begin around 6pm.SRK of course was quick to make light of the situation with his trademark wit. He promptly mouthed a line from Don 2 : “It’s no longer about the police in just 11 nations, Don is now wanted by the police in 132 nations.” In between waving to the crowd and giving quick photo-ops to the press, SRK found time to leave a few soundbytes for the gathering.”I was Delhi student too, so I can relate to all of you. I must say it’s nice that you guys are studying in such a posh campus,” he said, as the ecstatic crowd drowned his voice. While organisational mismanagement saw half the media leave even before the actual quiz started, SRK made all hassles well worth facing once he took centrestage.When some of the quiz participants seemed nervous, SRK quipped: “I would often wonder how to prepare for something important in life. Till Mr Amitabh Bachchan gave me the right tip. I recall being at a show with him in New York, and I was quite nervous. I asked him how he got over anxiety pangs. He told me, ‘I just ensure my zipper is pulled up’. So, absorb all knowledge that comes your way and zip it up. Seize the day, live the moment.” As the quiz kicked off, SRK was in fine form. He ripped the college jackets off contestants who gave wrong answers, made a couple of teams that argued over a right answer do push- ups, in the process joining them in an impromptu push- up session himself.As the evening rolled, the quiz became a keen contest that unfolded amidst fun fare-SRK style. Contestants and the audience alike would have wished the quiz lasted for a little longer.advertisement