Dimension Data’s court case against its former executive chairperson Andile Ngcaba, who is suing the company for more than R400 million in damages over alleged unfair remuneration, has taken a blow with the issuing of the latest judgment by the Johannesburg High Court.
Ngcaba, who served as the IT giant’s executive chairperson for Middle East and Africa from 2004 to 2017, is suing the company for failing to honour its agreement for equal remuneration and is claiming for equal pay between him and the white executives whom he says were paid more than him even though they reported to him as executive chairman at the time.
He claims that he only discovered after 12 years that the verbal commitment made to him by Brett Dawson, who was global chief executive at the time of the agreement in 2004, that he would “always be compensated or remunerated in a manner which was either equal to or better than other senior executives” was broken.
Delivering his latest judgment on November 16, Judge AJ Skibi ordered that Dawson and former chairman Jeremy Ord could be cross-examined by Ngcaba’s lawyers in relation to minutes of a remuneration committee meeting, which Dimension Data initially said did not exist.
The company’s version was contradicted by the former chair of that committee, Wendy Lucas-Bull, whose testimony will be referred to as oral evidence.
It is understood that Dawson and Ord were permanent invitees in the meetings and must therefore have participated in the approval of the minutes, which Dimension Data justified by saying it took into account payments made to various entities in respect of the BEE scheme.
“The defendants (Dimension Data, Japanese technology giant NTT and Jeremy Ord) are not disputing that those benefits were offered to the plaintiff (Andile Ngcaba) as a black person from a historically disadvantaged background. On the other hand, the claim here pertains to the payment received by the plaintiff in lieu of the services he tendered to the first defendant as executive chairman. The amounts received in relation to the [Dimension Data] MEA BEE scheme are accordingly not relevant,” reads part of the judgment.
The judge further said: “It is hard to believe that the defendants can sensibly establish its relevance by suggesting that the amounts paid to the plaintiff, as part of the BEE scheme, must be deducted from the plaintiff’s claim. I am constrained not to say much about issues which are yet to be dealt with during the trial.”
The trial will resume early next year.