Old Mutual denies reinstated CEO Moyo access to his office

Axed Old Mutual CEO Peter Moyo.
Axed Old Mutual CEO Peter Moyo.
Image: Moeletsi Mabe/Sunday Times

Reinstated Old Mutual CEO Peter Moyo has left the office building after being denied access to his office.

Moyo, who was fired in June, was reinstated by the South Gauteng High Court  in Johannesburg on Tuesday after it found that his dismissal was unlawful.

He returned to his office on Wednesday morning but was denied entry to his office. Old Mutual did this, it said, because it was appealing the ruling and Moyo should therefore not return to work.

This, according to Moyo and his lawyers, is in contempt of the court order. “An application for leave to appeal only suspends a court order which is final. This is not a final order, it says he is temporarily reinstated,” said Moyo’s legal representative Eric Mabuza. “They are in contempt of the court order because they should implement the order, it’s not being disturbed by anything.”

Old Mutual spokesperson Tabby Tsengiwe said they had been advised that Moyo is not supposed to return to work until the appeal is finalised. “As far as we have taken counsel as Old Mutual, it means that Mr Moyo is not permitted nor allowed to resume duty because our leave to appeal actually means that the order to have him reinstated is suspended.” 

Moyo was first suspended and later fired after the board, chaired by former finance minister Trevor Manuel, claimed that there was conflict of interest due to his involvement in a company he co-founded called NMT Capital. The board said at the time that there were concerns around the declaration of Moyo’s dividends in the company. Moyo then took them to court.

There was a breakdown of talks on Wednesday between Moyo and Old Mutual following disputes on the interpretation of the law.

“We actually came back as directed by the court [but] Old Mutual don’t believe I should and I quite frankly consider it a total contempt of court and I actually think it’s one of those things where the board is clearly in contempt,” said Moyo. He said he would meet with his senior counsel advocate Dali Mpofu to decide their next move.

Moyo said he decided to leave the building on his own accord but that he expects Old Mutual to comply with the order and allow him to work. “I’ve got an expectation that Old Mutual complies with a court order, that’s actually how simple it is. It can’t get any simpler than that,” said Moyo.

He said his fightback against Manuel and the board was about his rights. “I did not make it difficult. This is actually about people’s rights, this is also about people’s accountabilities. One of the values of this organisation is actually accountability and integrity.”

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