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Manuel: Moyo can come for coffee, but not to work

Axed Old Mutual CEO Peter Moyo insists he’s ‘free to return to work at any time’ after the insurer withdrew additional legal action against him.

Old Mutual has decided to stop additional legal action against axed CEO Peter Moyo, in an attempt to “de-escalate” ligation that has dragged on for nearly three months and resulted in a nasty punch-up between both parties.

However, Old Mutual board Chair Trevor Manuel said on Friday that Moyo is no longer an employee of SA’s second-largest insurer, despite it issuing him with a letter on September 12 saying that “he has tendered his services and that he continues to do so.”

The insurer believes that Moyo, who said he’s jobless and sitting at home, is not required to be present at Old Mutual’s headquarters in Sandton to tender his services.

“He can come and have coffee on the ground floor. If he has a meeting with any of the staff, he can use one of the boardrooms. But unless you are employed in the building, you don’t have access to the building,” said Manuel.

He was speaking publicly for the first time since Moyo was fired on June 18 over wrongfully pocketing dividends worth R30 million linked to NMT Capital, an investment holding company he co-founded, in which Old Mutual holds a 20% stake.

Old Mutual was on a charm offensive, saying that it never intended to protract the dispute with Moyo and it has an interest in appealing against a July 30 high court order that temporarily reinstated him as CEO and blocked the insurer from appointing Moyo’s successor.

“One thing we are clear about is that we have to see the legal process through to its conclusion. We don’t want to be in the courts forever and a day,” said Manuel.

“The board is of the view that the [high court] order is so bad for the company and company law that we have an interest in ensuring that it is overturned on appeal. The judgment creates a massive headache for the corporate governance space.”

The feud escalated on September 9 after Moyo was barred by Old Mutual from returning to his office – despite the high court in Johannesburg ruling for the second time that he must be reinstated.

Read: Old Mutual: ‘Moyo won’t be returning to work in the interim’

Moyo clinched another court victory against Old Mutual when high court Judge Brian Mashile dismissed the insurer’s application “in its entirety” for a declaratory order on September 6 that would prevent him from resuming his duties.

Old Mutual believes that Moyo should not resume his CEO duties until its appeal process against a July 30 high court order, which temporarily reinstated him, is concluded. Mashile granted Old Mutual leave to appeal the July 30 order, meaning that the insurer has a shot at overturning it, because a new judge or a full bench of judges might review the dispute.

After Old Mutual lost its declaratory order application, it said Moyo cannot return to work because he has not challenged the “contractual validity” of the further termination of his employment contract on August 21 –effectively firing him again.

Read: Old Mutual fires Peter Moyo (again)

Accordingly, Old Mutual said it will be “filing the appropriate appeal papers in the next few days” apparently against Mashile’s decision to dismiss the insurer’s declaratory order application.

In a new twist, Bowman Gilfillan, a law firm representing Old Mutual, sent a letter to Moyo on September 12 informing him that the insurer has “reconsidered its stance” on further legal action.

“It [Old Mutual] has now decided that it would be more appropriate to attempt to de-escalate the litigation between the parties, and it would prefer not to have to engage in further collateral litigation,” the letter seen by Moneyweb reads.

Old Mutual suggested that both parties should “seek to avoid further proceedings that would not serve to resolve the central issues that exist between them” relating to whether Moyo’s employment has been “validly terminated, either by the first or the second notice.”

Old Mutual has resolved to suspend further litigation, as it prefers to wait for a high court judgment that Mashile is expected to deliver in the next two weeks. Moyo has launched a high court application to have Old Mutual’s 14-member board, including Manuel, declared in contempt of court for “failing” to comply with a July 30 high court order that reinstated him as CEO and barred the insurer from appointing his successor.

Read: Moyo wants the entire Old Mutual board to be purged

In a statement on Friday, Eric Mabuza, Moyo’s lawyer, said he will consult with Moyo about his next legal steps. “[The] withdrawal by Old Mutual of its undertaking and threats to bring an urgent application means that Mr Moyo is free to return to work at any time.”

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This conduct with one of the largest companies in the country is an embarrassment and is unacceptable.

I expect the Chairman to resign in his speech today-he has demonstrated that he is simply incapable of performing the role. After all he is the fellow who conflated his abilities with a huge commodity boom when things went well here and was the finance director for years of the great Jacob Zupta. He is simply not pubic company board material.

The rate at which these OM stories are emerging, together with the way they are written makes me suspect there is a mischievous attempt to manipulate the situation. Moneyweb should look into their platform being misused by journalists with an agenda.

A useful lesson for any company in the New SA. If you can’t fire ’em, don’t hire ’em.

Looking at the unemployment figures I think Corporate SA has decided this already!!!

It’s not that you cannot fire them but there has to be proper due process. Do you really want your boss to fire you because he doesn’t like your socks? Given the racism and power dynamics in SA can you imagine what would happen if this was allowed?

So what is he going to do, stand around the coffee station doling out financial advice. He sure won’t be included in any meaningful discussion.

@pwgg

Yeah I have no idea what he would do in the office after this complete and utter circus. Would they even trust him to make coffee?
I know I wouldn’t, I’ll be bringing my coffee flask from home everyday.

@Pistov

Could not agree more. Why would you want to start a business in South Africa again, if this is the type of red tape you’re stuck with when you want to get rid of people that negatively affect the company, it’s interests and it’s value?

Just one of the many reasons why more and more entrepreneurs and business minded individuals are leaving SA to go live and work in other environments.

– I know I wouldn’t, I’ll be bringing my coffee flask from home everyday.

You are taught/told to hate on a person without any basis and here you are.

– Could not agree more. Why would you want to start a business in South Africa again,

What do you want from this site and South Africa?

@Zinger

Sorry what? Told or taught to hate someone. Who hates who now? If that is your interpretation of what I said there you missed the plot.
I’ve heard and seen enough from the mouth of Peter Moyo that I would chose, not because someone told or taught me, to not work or associate with him based on what he says and how he thinks. I don’t to read some kind of narrative to come to some sort of conclusion, I just listened to what the man himself said and how he is conducting himself.
Miss the plot much.

You’re asking me what I want from this site and South Africa? Is this some kind of a person stab at me where you try and imply something about me as a person when you don’t know anything about me?

I’m sure like most people here on this site. We’re using it as a source of news along with many other news sources out there.
As for what I want (wish) for South Africa, again I am sure like most people here, I want (wish) South Africa to get rid of its corrupt politicians so that the citizens of this beautiful country can live in peace and happiness while building a thriving economy and look to improve everyone’s quality of life.

Too bad I don’t care what you want from this site and South Africa cause I’ll just assume you’re sour. Bye xoxo

I can see cheques being thrown at the delinquent, mission accomplished, that was the intent in the first place ….all amicable off coarse !!!

Like Sensei said, siphoning equity from the shareholders to the “employee’s” pockets

Moyo is not a delinquent, he is an achieved executive and was chair of Vodacom for a long time. The OML board are the delinquents and the court has already pronounced on this.

It is becoming clear to me that Manuel is a ‘loose cannon’ in the role of OM Chairman. His shocking comment about the judge, not reported in this article, is a warrant for a disciplinary if ever there was one. To discredit the judiciary puts you in EFF and Zuma territory.

He is another Julius. Sounds like him, looks like him. The whole thing.

COLSON, it is this ATTITUDE of trevor that build the above-the-law-attitude-of-sars!

Contempt of the court of law. Deliquent director. Another thing Trevor, what goes around comes around.

The chairman forgot to explain to the shareholders whether the company indeed settled the chairman’s private legal expenses

The sooner shareholders realise and most importantly act on the fact that Trevor is cancer to the company the better.

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