Biggest telecoms salaries in South Africa

South Africa’s telecommunications sector has traditionally produced some of the country’s highest CEO and executive salaries.

Forensic and financial accountants firm COMPUTUS showed in 2010 that on average, the CEO’s in the telecommunications industry are the best rewarded with an average annual remuneration of R11.5 million, of which 55% was paid out as part of incentive schemes.

The last financial year was no exception with the executives from the country’s top telecommunications operators taking home millions in salaries and bonuses.

According to Vodacom, MTN and Telkom’s latest annual reports the highest total remuneration went to former MTN CEO Phuthuma Nhleko.

After resigning as MTN CEO on 30 June 2010, Nhleko agreed to continue in his CEO role until 31 March 2011. He received R33 million on 1 April 2011 in a restraint of trade agreement. The R33 million restraint of trade payment is in addition to Nhleko’s R30,370,000 salary for 2010, which included a bonus of over R20 million.

Phuthuma Nhleko
Phuthuma Nhleko

While Vodacom’s top brass did not take home that kind of money, they should still be able to make ends meet financially.

Vodacom CEO Pieter Uys received a total remuneration of R13,190,826 while former Vodacom SA MD Shameel Joosub received R13,583,311. Rob Shuter earned a cool R10,232,146 over the last financial year for his duties as Vodacom CFO.

Pieter Uys
Pieter Uys – Vodacom CEO

Altech CEO Craig Venter received a total package of R8,003,000 over the last financial year while the company’s CFO John Carstens received a remuneration of R3,724,000.


Reuben September
Reuben September

Telkom had a disruptive year when it comes to top management, which is also partly reflected in the company’s less-than-sterling financial figures. However, this does not mean that their executives struggled financially.

Former Telkom CEO Reuben September stepped down as the company’s group chief executive and resigned as a director from 7 July 2010. Despite September’s early departure he still earned R6,592,109 for the three months he spent at the company over the last financial year.

Peter Nelson, Telkom’s former CFO, left the company shortly after September (Nelson resigned as Telkom Group Chief Financial Officer on 25 August 2010), but also still received millions in compensation. Nelson received a total remuneration of R4,844,025 for the few months he spent at the company in 2010.

Smaller telecoms players

When it comes to the smaller operators, such as Vox Telecom, salaries started to decline compared to salaries from Vodacom, MTN and Telkom executives.

Vox Telecom executive directors Tony van Marken and Douglas Reed each earned R3,560,000 for the year ended 31 August 2010.

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Biggest telecoms salaries in South Africa