OM/Moyo feud re-ignites; SAA stop-sell lifted; Duduzane muddies Pakistan’s waters

By Linda van Tilburg

  • The battle between Old Mutual and its sacked Chief Executive Officer Peter Moyo is not over yet. Old Mutual is in the process of appointing a new CEO for the company; but Moyo filed an urgent court application on Friday to prevent the financial services company from going ahead with installing anybody. The matter will be heard on 10 March this year. It follows after the courts initially ordered that Moyo be reinstated, but this was overturned in a ruling in January this year which opened the way for Old Mutual to resume its plans to appoint a new CEO. Moyo’s lawyer said the application for leave to appeal means Old Mutual cannot appoint a new permanent CEO pending the outcome of Moyo’s latest application.
  • South African Airways received a boost as insolvency cover by Travel Insurance Consultants, a Sanlam subsidiary and Bryte Insurance Company have reinstated insolvency cover on SAA tickets. The airline’s Chief Financial Officer, Deon Fredericks said customers could now purchase tickets with renewed confidence that they were protected “on every step of their journey”. He said the TIC’s decision was based on its confidence that the business rescue process was in the best interest of stabilising SAA. The decision by Flight Centre at the end of November to stop selling SAA tickets because of ongoing concerns over the airline’s stability, has also been changed. Flight Centre said it has reviewed its position and had lifted its stop-sell on SAA.
  • The name of Duduzane Zuma, the son of former President Jacob Zuma has popped up in a probe in irregularities at Pakistan’s top bank. According to Business Day, the Habib Bank’s UAE operation skirted rules when they opened an account for Zuma junior. An inspection by Pakistan’s central bank has revealed “significant irregularities” in dealings with politically exposed clients and in screening some transactions. The inspection was conducted after a global watchdog for illicit financial activities, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) put Pakistan on its monitoring list. The organisation is considering a Pakistan downgrade which could affect the International Monetary Fund’s bailout programme for the country and have serious consequences for the nation’s economy. It was found that employees in some of Habib Bank’s UAE branches helped certain customers disguise transactions by issuing pay orders in their own names.
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa’s ambitions of trimming the state’s wage bill to get the nation’s shaky finances under control have run into opposition from the outset. Ramaphosa said in his state of the nation address last week that the government is engaging with unions on how it could contain labour costs. Cosatu responded saying that the state had proposed cutting 30,000 jobs and freezing pay for three years and said just because they were talking did not mean they were on the same page. Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said the government had a right to engage with its employees, but did not “have the right to its own slaves”. Meanwhile Eskom’s CEO Andre de Ruyter has managed to avoid a potential clash with labour unions by offering voluntary severance packages for personnel aged 60 to 62 in an effort to address the top heavy structure of the power utility.