Not so fast, Moyo, says Old Mutual, after court rules against it - again

Peter Moyo
Peter Moyo

Axed CEO Peter Moyo will not immediately be returning to work if Old Mutual has its way, the company said in a statement on Friday evening.

But Moyo will be heading to the office on Monday, he told Fin24 by phone. 

The High Court in Johannesburg on Friday upheld an earlier ruling allowing Moyo to return to work. Judge Brian Mashile dismissed Old Mutual's application with costs, but granted the company leave to appeal.

Moyo was axed in June following a suspension in May, with Old Mutual citing a conflict of interest and a breakdown in trust. His dismissal was found to be unlawful and he was temporarily reinstated, with Old Mutual barred from appointing a replacement. Nonetheless, he was barred from work the day after his court victory, with the country’s second-largest insurer filing a notice to appeal.

A further matter heard by the court on Friday related to an additional notice of termination issued to Moyo by the insurer. In August, Old Mutual fired Moyo for a second time, issuing him a further notice to terminate his employment contract – a move Moyo's legal team labelled a classic case of contempt of court.

Late on Friday, judgment on this matter was reserved. Judgment is expected in two weeks.

Despite the findings of the court earlier in the day, according to Old Mutual, Moyo did not challenge the contractual validity of the second notice of termination, and would not be returning to work until judgment was delivered on that matter. 

"In his further application today, Mr Moyo argued that the further notice of termination of employment, given to Mr Moyo on 21 August 2019, constituted a further act in contempt of court, and that this is relevant to his earlier contentions in this regard," Old Mutual said.

"Mr Moyo has not challenged the contractual validity of the further notice of termination given on 21 August 2019. He will not be returning to work in the interim," the statement said. 

Speaking to Fin24 by phone, Moyo and his attorney denied this, saying it did not make sense. They said the court ruling had clarified the matter and that Moyo would be reporting to work on Monday.

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