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COSATU threatens total boycott against newly listed Vodacom

afrol News, 18 May - The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has threatened a total boycott fo Vodacom after failing to stop the transfer of shares and sale of R22.5 billion ($2.6 billion) worth of Telkom shares in Vodacom to the British company Vodafone.

The trade union had jointly launched an urgent court interdict with the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) to seek to stop the listing of Vodacom and the sale. The application was thrown out of court with costs.

COSATU said it was deeply disappointed and angry at the decision of the court.

"Meanwhile we shall be recommending the COSATU Central Executive Committee, on 1-2 June 2009 to endorse a total boycott of Vodacom. We welcome the support for such a campaign by the SA Communist Party, and will appeal to other and other unions to join the boycott and shift all their cell-phone accounts to other operators," the union said in a statement today.

The union said the court's decision was a victory for money over people, saying the union was not just applying on its own behalf but to protect the interests of Vodacom workers and all South Africans.

"We remain convinced that the deal would remove any remaining South African control over the country’s biggest cellphone company," the union said, adding that the fight against this deal will continue and would be consulting with its lawyers on possible further court action to appeal against the decision, up to the Constitutional Court if necessary.

Meanwhile, the Vodacom Group today said it was pleased with the level of trade on its first day on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

The Vodacom shares opened at R59.50 and at around 10.30, it was selling at R64.95.

"We are happy with the level of trading," Chief Communications Officer of Vodacom Group Dot Field told the state news agancy, BuaNews.

According to the new deal, Vodafone assumes full control of Vodacom with a 65 percent stake, but the deal has also made Vodacom listing as one of the largest South African companies on the JSE, the agency reported.

Vodacom is South Africa's biggest mobile operator, with 37.8 million subscribers at the end of last year. It also operates in Congo, Lesotho, Mozambique and Tanzania.

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