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MTN CEO granted 3 months special pass permit

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MBABANE – Under fire MTN Swaziland Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tebogo Mogapi was yesterday afternoon granted a three months renewable special pass permit by an Immigration Committee which sits every Friday.
The committee is otherwise known as the Friday Committee.

The special pass permit entitles Mogapi to continue working in the country, pending the verdict of his work permit renewal appeal application.
However, it is worth noting that although part of the special pass permit’s clauses states that one is not allowed to work on such a permit, the committee decided to suspend such a clause on Mogapi.


Mogapi and MTN could be breathing a sigh of relief for now but the matter is still far from over.
Should his appeal application be unsuccessful within the three months, he will be forced to leave the country and return to his native country, South Africa.

Information gathered by Swazi News is to the effect that a number of issues such as his welfare and that of his family, employment contract and the possibility of government being faced with footing his expenses were considered before granting the special pass.

Chief Immigration Officer who is also a member of the Friday Committee Anthony Masilela confirmed the three months given to Mogapi.
“We have granted Mogapi three months special permit pending his appeal,” explained Masilela.


“It is a norm that such permits are usually granted especially when an applicant has filed for an appeal towards a decision taken by the Immigration Office.
“The immigration committee also has full rights to withhold or withdraw certain clauses on the special pass, depending on what it has viewed sufficient enough to make changes.

“The special permit has only been granted because of the appeal and not based on the committee’s decision declining him his work permit renewal. Should his appeal be unsuccessful, the special permit becomes null and void,” he elaborated.
Mogapi’s appeal like any other will be handled by the Ministry of Immigration appeal’s board headed by Minister Mgwagwa Gamedze.

Mogapi’s work permit debacle began earlier this week when the Ministry of Immigration declined to renew his work permit, which is set to expire at the end of this month. No reasons were stated then. The Federation of Swaziland Employers and Chamber of Commerce (FSE & CC) initially backed Mogapi before retracting their statements the next day.
Training and Localisation Committee (TLC) member Jimeson Gwebu said they were not involved in the renewal case decision. “We were only involved when he was first granted a work permit. The decision and reasons could only be sourced from Home Affairs,” said Gwebu.    
Ministry of Home Affairs And Immigration Principal Secretary Mduduzi Magongo was quoted by our sister newspaper, the Times saying that the committee was not obliged to give reasons on the matter and he too was also unaware of the reasons.


However, when contacted by Swazi News Masilela confirmed that their decision as a committee was solely based on the joint venture agreement between government and MTN.
“We have nothing against MTN but then before renewing his contract, we had to consider the joint venture agreement. All documentation presented by MTN was satisfactory but however they seem to have contravened certain sections of the agreement,’ explained Masilela.

Mogapi, a South African by birth has been MTN CEO for a period of two years. He replaced local man Themba Khumalo who is now based in Uganda. Mogapi dismissed media reports that he was wanted out at a time when his contract was renewed by MTN group for another three years.
Then there were reports of him being deported. Again, there were no reasons forwarded. 


Where is the appeal?

MBABANE – MTN’s appeal against the Immigration’s Committee’s decision to decline the renewal of their CEO’s  work permit has not reached the rightful hands.

Chairman of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration’s Appeals Board, Minister Mgwagwa Gamedze together with Chief Immigration Officer Anthony Masilela said they have no received the appeal’s application.
The appeal was filed by the Mobile Telephone Network (MTN) on Monday.

When contacted yesterday Minister Mgwagwa said; “No application has reached me at the moment and therefore I cannot say much about it. Once I am in possession of such an application, I will then forward it to the board for further discussion. I am waiting to see on what basis MTN has filed the appeal, especially as I believe the committee has acted in good faith in declining the renewal”.


Chief Immigration Officer Anthony Masilela said; “I have heard some of my officers speaking about it but then I still have not received it. I can only confirm that an appeal application has been lodged upon receiving it. Once I receive it I will pass it over to the respective board”.
MTN’s Corporate Affairs Manager Pholile Dlamini told our sister newspaper Times, that they had filed an appeal through the relevant structures and awaiting a response.

Are days of expatriates numbered at MTN?

MBABANE – Could MTN CEO Tebogo Mogapi be the last expatriate to serve in the position?
If the latest criteria being practiced by government on all expatriates is anything to go by, then days of hiring expatriates in a number of corporate companies are numbered.

Chief Immigration Officer Anthony Masilela confirmed that government’s programme states clearly about the elevation of locals into senior positions, with MTN being no exception
“You may recall that MTN’s first CEO was an expatriate and was followed by a local. From nowhere MTN resorted into delocal-ising the position.


We believe the period spent by the CEO was sufficient enough to have groomed a local for such a position. This means there should be a local who has been an understudy who should be ready to take over the reigns,” he said.
Minister of Home Affairs Mgwagwa Gamedze said the changes do not completely mean that, “we will not consider expatriate applications from MTN or any other corporate institution for that matter. In Tebogo’s case, it was a matter of maintaining what was agreed upon on the joint venture”.

Minister of Information Communication and Technology Nelisiwe Shongwe was quoted saying it was time MTN local staff serving out of the country be brought to work home, as part of localisation.
When asked yesterday on whether the latest developments regarding MTN CEO’s work permit were in line with her localisation statement she said; “The issue of work permits fall outside the purview of the Ministry of Information Communication and Technology”. 


MTN group mum on CEO’s deportation

MBABANE – MTN Group remains mum on the latest debacle involving the renewal of their Chief Executive Officer Tebogo Mogapi’s work permit.

Speaking to Swazi News from South Africa yesterday, MTN Group Communications Manager Xolisa Vapi said; “We have heard what is happening but unfortunately as much as we would like to answer what we view as good questions, we cannot comment at this stage”.
Quizzed on whether they were intending to issue a statement in due course, Vapi said; “I cannot say at this moment as the matter is still under review”.

Vapi was also keen to learn about the latest development which was duly related to him by the Swazi News.

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