By Vanessa Mhizha
The third mobile telecommunications company in Zimbabwe, Telecel, in which government owns 60% stake is on the brink of collapse amid reports that servers have not been in operation since December last year due to debilitating economic situation.
Government, through state-owned entity Zarnet, acquired a 60% stake of the company in February 2016 after state-run pension scheme National Social Security Authority (Nssa) paid US$30 million to the Netherlands-headquartered telecommunications giant, VimpelCom, which had a majority stake.
The other 40% stake is held by the Zimbabwe Wealth Creation and Economic Empowerment Council, which owns Empowerment Corporation (EC), a consortium of local business entities.
Ever since, EC has been dogged by wrangles with regards to the ownership of shares as various individuals and companies claim to have interest in the consortium.
Documents seen by this publication show that Telecel is on the brink of collapse after it emerged that servers went down and the company has failed to replace the broken down spares.
“Telecel servers went down in December which has resulted in the malfunctioning of services like Telecash, buying airtime and purchasing data,” said the source.
“The daily operations have been severely affected by the dysfunctional IT systems. Subscribers are failing to recharge airtime due to a combination of both system failure and loss of critical staff,” reads the document.
Sources also said the clients are no longer able to replace or change sim cards due this problem which has drastically reduced active users to 800 000 from the previous 2.2 million.
“Active subscribers have gone down from 2.2 million in 2014 to around 800 000 in December 2019.”
“The accounting software (SUN) has been down posing high risk of fraud and theft outright dysfunction of the whole business,” the document states.
The documents also show that the total revenue has gone down to ZWL$ 7 million has also affected the operations of the telecoms company. Zim Morning Post