Serge Belamant
Bizana – The newly appointed chief executive of Net1, Universal Electronic Payment System, Herman Kotze, has defended the R103million severance package paid to its founder and former chief executive Serge Belamant.

Kotze said the biggest portion of the settlement related to the shares he owned in the company.

Belamant agreed to step down amid a storm of controversy over a contract to distribute billions of rand in grant payments to 10.5 million beneficiaries every month.

Kotze said Belamant had been with the company for decades and that was taken into account in deciding his severance package.

“A variety of numbers have been used in the media. All of them are huge numbers. We acknowledge that and we understand that. But I think we need to put it in context that the biggest portion of the settlement or exit package relates to the purchase of the shares that he owns in the company.

“And as far as the remainder of the settlement package is concerned this was calculated after deliberations between our remuneration committee and Serge over a period of time. We took into account a number of factors. Obviously Serge is the founder of Net1 and has been with the company for 30 years and that was taken into account“ he said.

Kotze reiterated that he was not responsible for terminating an agreement to invest R2billion in Blue Label Telecoms in a bid to acquire a 15% stake in Cell C.

Kotze, who was already at the coalface two days into his new post, in Bizana, Eastern Cape, visited one of the busy paypoints in the area to interact with members of the community and respond to the plight of the people in the area.

Kotze emphasised that his visit was elicited by stories in the media as well as the information picked up Net1 officials.

“I was told that teenage pregnancy as well as alcohol abuse are rife here. I also learned that the levels of poverty in this area are exacerbated by the high unemployment rates,” Kotze said.

Net1 is currently at the centre of the controversy around the distribution of welfare grants payments in South Africa after an affidavit by auditing firm KPMG revealed that it made R700m in profit from its unlawful contract with the South Africa Social Security Agency over a period of five years.

The trip to Bizana, Eastern Cape, was sponsored by Net1. Pretoria News journalist Sakhile Ndlazi covered the media tour.

Pretoria News