African Equity Empowerment Investments (AEEI) – a subsidiary of Iqbal Survé's Sekunjalo Group – claims that global telecoms group BT won't be able to end its relationship.

Fin24 previously reported that it was BT's intensions to split from Sekunjalo. BT (formerly British Telecom) is the UK's biggest fixed-voice and broadband provider.

In 2008, BT sold a 30% stake in its BT Communications Services South Africa (BTSA) to Sekunjalo as part of a black empowerment deal. But the global giant announced last week that it will cut its ties with Sekunjalo, and will ’explore alternative options’ to meet its BEE obligations.

According to its contract, BT has an option to buy back its shares from AEEI in ’the event of an act or omission which is not remedied within 60 days’.

A BT spokesperson had said the company had to correct a misrepresentation of facts about its relationship with the Sekunjalo Group, made to Parliament's Standing Committee of Finance, and that it will cut ties with Sekunjalo.

However, AEEI issued a statement yesterday saying BT cannot exercise its call option.

‘AEEI has been a shareholder of BTSA since 2008 and has played an important role in BTSA having and maintaining its Icasa licence. We have also enjoyed an excellent relationship with BTSA during this time,’ the statement read.

‘AEEI has today accordingly informed BT that it denies that the call option is capable of being exercised. BT will be exploring alternative options to meet its BEE and licensing obligations,’ a BT spokesperson reportedly told Fin24.

Full Fin24 report