South Africa’s Department of Public Enterprises will reportedly no longer have oversight over state-owned telecoms operator Broadband Infraco, with the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (formerly known as the Department of Communications [DoC]) assuming responsibility for the company’s activities. TechCentral reports that it is unclear if the change will require the introduction of formal legislation before it can be facilitated, but cites unnamed sources familiar with the matter as saying that ‘it is effectively a done deal’. For its part, Broadband Infraco spokesman Sammy Mafu said the company is not in a position to comment before an official statement from the government is released.
Meanwhile, the latest move has fuelled speculation of a possible collaboration, or even a merger, between Broadband Infraco and another state-owned enterprise (SOE) Telkom SA (the government holds a 40% stake in the telco), which is also overseen by the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services. Both Telkom and Broadband Infraco have previously expressed their desire to manage infrastructure rollouts to underserved areas on behalf of the government.