Worryingly, it has become not uncommon for dividends of a BBBEE scheme to go unclaimed for a long time after reaching maturity. Naturally, investors, who are black South Africans, should rush to get their money to make ends in the current tough economic environment, where inflation has been on an upward spiral and, due to COVID-19 lockdowns, jobs are few and far between.

Vodacom is the latest to make an announcement calling on investors of its YeboYethu BEE scheme to come forward and claim their dividends. Recently, the company said it had R61.1 million of shareholders whom it could not trace or might have changed their contact and banking details. “We are unable to contact these shareholders, notwithstanding significant cost and efforts in trying to trace them,” said Vodacom spokesperson, Byron Kennedy, adding that in August 2020, the total was R73 million owed to 12,000 shareholders.

Meanwhile, the mobile network service provider has embarked on various awareness campaigns to reach out to the shareholders. One of the ways is through radio campaigns run on four national radio stations in three languages, alerting shareholders to contact YeboYethu regarding their unclaimed dividends. Beneficiaries can also go on the YeboYethu website to check if they have unclaimed dividends. Forms for claimants have been redesigned, simplified to allow shareholders to update their banking details efficiently. Vodacom has also engaged a local provider to be tracing shareholders who have unclaimed dividends.

In February 2021, Multichoice said that it faced a similar challenge. In a statement, the company said it had R270 million in unclaimed dividends after the maturity of its BBBEE share scheme Phuthuma Nathi, matured.

YeboYethu shareholders, who have not received dividends from 2014, are urged to contact the call centre on 011 581 7850 or 082 241 0001 (toll-free from Vodacom cellphones)

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