Simphiwe Mbokazi African News Agency (ANA)
Simphiwe Mbokazi African News Agency (ANA)

Old Mutual making case before a full bench today

By Dineo Faku Time of article published Dec 6, 2019

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JOHANNESBURG - Old Mutual's bid for the recusal of South Gauteng High Court Judge Brian Mashile is expected to be heard in Mpumalanga today.

Old Mutual, South Africa’s oldest insurance company, and Peter Moyo yesterday finalised their arguments into the appeal of a previous interim order for the fired chief executive’s reinstatement.

Judgment was reserved.

The bruising six-month-long court battle between Old Mutual and Moyo has seen the insurer wiping off more than R17 billion of its market cap.

Old Mutual spokesperson Tabby Tsengiwe said yesterday that the insurer wanted the litigation to resolve the impasse.

“The board has always said that Old Mutual is very keen for this to reach a speedy resolution and we have said we are always open to engagements. However, we are grateful for the opportunity of a full bench to listen to the appeal. We believe that this will give clarity on whether or not a board can be compelled to work with a chief executive who has acted against the interests of a company, which he leads, by being in breach of his contract,” said Tsengiwe.

Moyo was axed in June amid concerns of a material breakdown in the relationship of trust and confidence with the board.

Tsengiwe said Old Mutual believed Moyo’s undermined corporate governance.

“That is the clarity we hope the case will provide,” said Tsengiwe.

In October Old Mutual applied for Mashile’s recusal as the presiding judge in Moyo’s case.

Moyo was prevented from returning to work in July despite being reinstated by Mashile, who granted him an interim order to do so citing that the termination of his contract was illegal and unlawful.

Speaking on the sidelines of the hearing yesterday, Moyo said the case was not appealable, adding that he felt that the hearing went well.

“We brought the case to court because we believe that South African courts fundamentally work and we have faith in the justice system,” said Moyo.

“There are two things here, my right to dignity and my contractual right. You don’t stand up to insult me, and you don’t allow me to defend myself, then you stand up to say that I was not fired for those reasons, and you tell the world that this was misconduct.”

Moyo said the court battle was also aimed at holding the Old Mutual board to account. “We are saying the Old Mutual board needs to take full accountability for the actions, for the way they act relative to what they have been asked to do by the shareholders,” said Moyo.

Old Mutual shares gained 1.20percent on the JSE yesterday to close at R18.60.

BUSINESS REPORT 

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