Telkom SA SOC Ltd. (TKG), the South African phone company part-owned by the government, will probe allegations that Chief Executive Officer Sipho Maseko cloned car license plates allowing him to avoid traffic fines.
“The board will look into the matter,” Chief Risk Officer Ouma Rasethaba said by phone yesterday. “We haven’t seen a docket. The matter hasn’t been lodged formally with us.”
Johannesburg’s Star newspaper reported yesterday that Maseko, who has been CEO of Africa’s biggest fixed-line carrier since April last year, is accused of running up about 30,000 rand ($2,853) in traffic fines that were sent to Mabena Motshoane, who runs a company called Purple-Blue Technologies. A police investigation is under way, according to Wayne Minnaar, spokesman for the Johannesburg traffic police. The City of Johannesburg also confirmed the complaint against Maseko.
Motshoane bought a black Range Rover from a used-car dealership called EJX Auto last year that previously belonged to Maseko, according to documents he showed to Bloomberg News. Following the purchase, Motshoane received several traffic fines linked to a newer model Range Rover with the same license plate, he said.
“I was driving down the highway from Pretoria to Johannesburg and I saw the car with my number plate so I flashed my lights and pulled him over,” Motshoane said in an interview in a restaurant near Soweto, southwest of Johannesburg. He believed the driver of the other car was Maseko. Motshoane has laid charges with the police, alleging that the Telkom CEO cloned the license plates of his old Range Rover resulting in speeding fines being sent to the new owner.
Maseko said by phone he couldn’t immediately comment because he was in a meeting and that his personal spokesman, Dick Foxton, would comment. He didn’t immediately respond to e-mailed questions. Foxton declined to comment when contacted by mobile phone.
Pynee Chetty, a spokesman for Telkom, also declined to comment.
“A high-level investigation is currently under way” police spokesman Minnaar said by phone. “The docket will soon be handed over to the South African Police Service and the director of prosecutions for a decision on the matter.”
Telkom is about 40 percent owned by the South African government.
“I’m still pondering over” the story, Kholeka Mzondeki, a Telkom board member, said by mobile phone. “It’s probably a confusion. I’m sure the appropriate action will be taken. I will leave it with the chairman.”
To contact the reporters on this story: Renee Bonorchis in Johannesburg at firstname.lastname@example.org; Christopher Spillane in Johannesburg at email@example.com