Peter Moyo, Old Mutual CEO. Picture: SUPPLIED
Peter Moyo, Old Mutual CEO. Picture: SUPPLIED

In any business organisation teamwork and trust are important, and for a court to order the re-employment of a senior official who has been dismissed is inappropriate.

There are plenty of precepts for this. If it can be shown that his dismissal was unjustifiable and wrongful, he could have a claim for damages, and in the case of Old Mutual this would be Peter Moyo’s proper remedy.

From reports in the media it seems the main, if not only, reason for the court’s order that Moyo be restored to his position at Old Mutual was that the procedure for dismissing him was not followed correctly. This does not affect the merits of the matter, and if the reasons for dismissal were sound he would be unlikely to recover any substantial damages.

The Public Investment Corporation and others have called for Moyo’s dispute with Old Mutual to be settled, amid fears that the company’s share price is falling. The share price will recover, so we should calm down on that issue. But for interested parties to insist that a settlement is essential carries all the appearance of calling for a golden handshake.  

Such settlements may have happened previously in the case of state-owned enterprises and government ministries and departments, where taxpayer money was freely available. That was wrong enough, but parliament let it happen. It’s not the same for investors in an investment company. That kind of settlement would also be completely wrong.    

Old Mutual needs to prepare its case properly, and fight it. And if Moyo finds that the publicity has harmed him and his reputation, he will have himself to thank for that.

John Price,Via e-mail

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