Speed bump for Andile Ngcaba in his R400m remuneration case against Dimension Data

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Former Dimension Data executive chairperson, Andile Ngcaba.
Former Dimension Data executive chairperson, Andile Ngcaba.
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  • Former Dimension Data executive chairperson Andile Ngcaba suffered a setback in his remuneration case against his former employer on Wednesday.
  • Ngcaba is suing the company for more than R400 million in damages over alleged unfair remuneration. 
  • Ngcaba’s attorneys requested minutes of the company’s remuneration committee meetings, but this request was denied. 

Former Dimension Data executive chairperson Andile Ngcaba hit a speed bump in his remuneration case against his former employer in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

Acting Judge Nzame Skibi ruled against Ngcaba’s bid to force the company to provide him with the minutes of some of its remuneration committee meetings.

Ngcaba is suing Dimension Data for R440 million, alleging that during his 12-year stint between 2004 and 2017, his white counterparts and juniors were paid more than he was.

Ngcaba says he was not aware of the pay disparity until the amendment of the Companies Act, which required both listed and unlisted companies to disclose the remuneration of their directors.

The IT company was delisted from the JSE in 2010, following its acquisition by Japanese telecommunications company, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT). 

As part of the discovery process of the case – where the parties exchange information about witnesses and evidence – Ngcaba’s attorneys requested the minutes of the company’s remuneration committee meetings.

According to court documents, Dimension Data’s claimed that the minutes "do not exist".

The claim was, however, refuted by former remuneration chairperson Wendy Lucas-Bull, who, in an affidavit dated 27 October 2020, confirmed that the company’s pre-delisting minutes did in fact exist.

After receiving the minutes, which were found at the company’s office, Ngcaba’s legal counsel said they believed Dimension Data was withholding minutes from meetings that took place after its delisting.

On Wednesday, the court heard oral evidence from Dimension Data on the whereabouts of the minutes. During cross-examination that stretched over eight hours, Brett Dawson, who was the company’s CEO during Ngcaba’s term, said that after the delisting, no minutes were taken.

In his judgment on Wednesday, Skibi said: "I'm satisfied with[Dawson's] testimony, [that] post-delisting there were no further minutes; he explained clearly the processes which were followed by the entity [Dimension Data] after it was taken over."

He then made an order against Ngcaba's application to compel Dimension Data to provide the post-delisting minutes and reserved the costs of the proceedings.

During his cross-examination, Ngcaba’s representative, Advocate Dali Mpofu, SC, grilled Dawson about why the former executive chairperson was excluded from the company’s long-term incentive plans and share appreciation rights scheme that its senior executives were part of.

Dawson said Ngcaba was excluded because he was a beneficiary of the company’s black economic empowerment (BEE) equity transaction.

"The point is that it was discriminatory to exclude Mr Ngcaba as an employee from the benefits which might have accrued to him otherwise, if he was not part of the BEE transaction.

"As an employee, he needed to be treated equally, like all South Africans, as far as his remuneration package was concerned," Mpofu said.

Ngcaba was not paid as much as his white counterparts because he was part of the BEE transaction, Mpofu added.

"My lord, I absolutely disagree with that comment … in the period of his employment, he was not discriminated [against] from a remuneration perspective," said Dawson.

He added that the BEE transaction was put in place to ensure that the "ills of apartheid" were addressed.

On Tuesday, it was revealed that the company's founder and current executive chairperson Jeremy Ord was stepping down at the end of June

The company said there was nothing unusual about his exit or four other executives, who also resigned.

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