Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Datatec shareholders made their concerns heard by going for the executives’ pockets, voting against the implementation of the firm’s remuneration policy on Thursday.

A major 62.8% of shareholders voted against the implementation of the company’s remuneration report. The technology firm also tabled its remuneration policy for the year to February 2019 and got away with it as 50.2% voted in favour of it.

Datatec said its shareholders were unhappy about a couple of other issues as well, including the tenure of both the company’s nonexecutive directors and external auditors.

But the resolution on the reappointment of auditors was narrowly passed as 57.9% of shareholders voted in favour of it while the re-election of one of the nonexecutive directors was withdrawn by Datatec.

A wave of shareholder activism has swept through the JSE -listed companies in the past few months.

A number of companies faced opposition to their pay policies: 59.36% of Tongaat Hulett’s shareholders voted against its remuneration policy. Most of Naspers’ ordinary shareholders voted against the group’s pay policy at its past two annual meetings.

There are also a few incidents where even though the majority endorsed the companies’ remuneration policy, the number of those who voted against it was much higher.

EOH’s remuneration policy was endorsed by just 55.8% of shareholders at its annual meeting this week.

Just before it was renamed Absa Group, 47.7% of Barclays Africa Group shareholders voted against the implementation of the remuneration report while 23.5% voted against the remuneration policy.

However, unlike in countries such as Australia and a few European countries, such as UK and Netherlands, shareholders’ votes on companies’ pay policies are not binding in SA.

The JSE’s listing requirements, however, requires companies to engage their shareholders if more than 25% voted against its pay policy.

Datatec said its board will continue engaging shareholders through a series of meetings and other engagement processes.

buthelezil@businesslive.co.za