Old Mutual heading to court after barring Moyo from returning to work

Old Mutual chief executive Peter Moyo waves to members of the media as he enters the company’s building in Sandton on Monday. Photo: Dimpho Maja African News Agency (ANA)
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JOHANNESBURG – Old Mutual said on Monday that it would be filing appropriate appeal papers in the next few days after it barred sacked chief executive Peter Moyo from returning to work, despite the South Gauteng High Court ordering the group to do so last week.

The 174-year-old insurer prevented Moyo from going to work, despite Friday’s order that rejected its efforts to keep him out of his job. Old Mutual said it was within its rights to bar Moyo from getting his job back.

“Old Mutual will be filing the appropriate appeal papers in the next few days and will let you know when we have been granted a date for the hearing and which court will hear it. Old Mutual representatives have the full authority of the board to enforce the second notice of termination and take all the related steps,” the company said.

Moyo’s triumphant return to the company’s Sandton office yesterday was short-lived after Old Mutual’s legal team informed him that the further notice of termination it gave to him last month stood and Old Mutual’s contractual rights remained intact.

Moyo was unceremoniously axed in June when the board cited a material breakdown of trust and confidence in him. He was placed on suspension a month earlier amid alleged conflict of interest in the NMT Group, an investment company he co-founded.

Last month, the insurer gave a further notice of termination in an open letter to shareholders, in which it said it was clearly in the best interests of the company and its stakeholders that the employment relationship with Moyo should come to an end.

On Friday, Judge Brian Mashile dismissed Old Mutual’s application for a declaratory order seeking to prevent Moyo from returning to work.

But the insurer said yesterday the validity of the letter was not the subject of the court hearing.

It said the court heard an application brought by Moyo in terms of Rule 6(5)(e) for leave to introduce further evidence and for further declaratory relief.

Eric Mabuza, lawyer for Moyo, 56, said it was disappointing that the insurer had failed to abide by the rule of law.

“In the end, sanity will prevail on Old Mutual and Mr Moyo will be allowed to take his position as chief executive,” Mabuza said, adding that he was no longer shocked by Old Mutual.

“They (Old Mutual) will go to lengths to prevent Moyo from going back to work,” said Mabuza.

“Moyo came to work, because we would not allow Old Mutual to break the law. Their lawyers told us we are not allowed, and we asked them for legal resolution, and they failed to produce legal resolution,” said Moyo.