YeboYethu, Vodacom Group’s Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) scheme is sitting with more than R73 million in its bank accounts in unclaimed dividends belonging to over 12,000 shareholders.
The administrators of the scheme have been unable to pay over the dividends owing to shareholders not updating their contact details on a regular basis, Vodacom said on Wednesday (19 August).
Established in 2008, YeboYethu was designed with the express intention of providing true grassroots empowerment. YeboYethu issued 14.4 million YeboYethu Ordinary Shares at R25 each and as a result of the public offer, approximately 102,000 qualifying black investors bought a stake in Vodacom South Africa.
At the time of implementation of the Vodacom SA BEE Transaction, valued at R7.5 billion, it was one of the largest empowerment schemes in the telecommunications industry, resulting in YeboYethu owning 3.44% of Vodacom SA.
Through a new BEE deal concluded in June 2018, YeboYethu Limited now holds a 6.23% stake in Vodacom Group worth R13.4 billion.
Zarina Bassa, chairman of YeboYethu said: “We launched YeboYethu with the intent of empowering the black majority masses of our country that were marginalised from participating in the mainstream of the economy by investing in Vodacom, a successful SA telco. The scheme has performed well under tough economic conditions and in some instances providing shareholders with market-beating returns.
“It worries us that we are sitting with millions of rands in unclaimed dividends at a time like this. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a lot of economic devastation and left many with no income and it remains our view that unclaimed dividends could be used by many to provide relief during these tough financial times.”
“Our service provider can only pay over dividends to shareholders once they have your correct details. Therefore, we would like to appeal to members of the public to help us spread the word. If you know someone that is a YeboYethu shareholders and have not received their dividends from 2014, please contact us and help them get their fair share of the dividends.”
The unclaimed dividends date back to 2014, with the largest amounts relating to the special dividend that was declared in 2018, and during this period, the YeboYethu scheme has used various ways to trace shareholders.
YeboYethu said that attempts to trace the 12,000 shareholders through a third party have been unsuccessful.
“For instance, 11,617 calls were made, 4,926 calls were unanswered and only 891 shareholders were successfully contacted. The scheme has 84,496 shareholders and has paid over R66 million in dividends to 72,454 shareholders through its service provider, Link Investor Services from August 2016 to date,” it said.