When Peter Moyo reported for duty at Old Mutual on Monday, he was led to a boardroom where he was told he would not be allowed access to his office.
“When we arrived here they pulled us to the boardroom to tell us we are not authorised here. Once again it’s déjà vu, they are again preventing Moyo from taking over his duties as the CEO,” his lawyer, Eric Mabuza, told The Sowetan.
“We have now asked Old Mutual to produce a legal authority which bars Mr Moyo from taking over his duties,” he added, saying he was now looking for who in the board authorised the decision to bar his client from returning to work.
This is the second time Old Mutual has prevented Moyo from performing his duties on his return. Moyo showed up to work and was not let into his office in July, following his victory over the company, which was found to have dismissed him illegally.
This led to Moyo and his legal representation accusing the company of contempt of court in an ongoing legal battle.
It was reported on Monday that the seemingly never-ending battle between the insurance company and its CEO looks set to continue, as Moyo returned to work the day after the company released a statement indicating he would not be doing so.
READ MORE: Old Mutual fires Peter Moyo (again)
Moyo arrived at the company on Monday morning, telling a CNBC reporter that the first thing he needed to do was “sort out my access”.
This despite a statement issued by the company on Friday, which said Moyo would not be returning to work in the interim as he had not challenged the validity of their August 21 termination letter, which effectively amounted to the company firing him a second time.
“The second letter of dismissal is already being considered by the judge. It is a flimsy argument by Old Mutual which is based on bad legal advice,” said Moyo, responding to the statement in the Daily Maverick.
On Power FM on Monday morning, Moyo’s lawyer, Eric Mabuza, confirmed he was on “on his way to work as we speak”.
Asked if the company would let Moyo resume his duties, Mabuza said: “We expect nothing less than that.
“How can a big company like Old Mutual brazenly disrespect a court order which is clear and specific, that Mr Moyo should be reinstated to his position?” asked Mabuza.
“They have a right to appeal and must exercise that right. But in the meantime, they should allow him to take over his position. We cannot allow the brazen disregard for a court order like the way Old Mutual is doing.”
Asked if he was open to a settlement, Mabuza said: “Before we talk about a settlement, we must talk about him being reinstated to his position, it’s a matter of principle that we must respect court judgments.
“It’s not only about his reinstatement, also about his dignity and the rule of law.”
Asked about their next move, Mabuza said they would look their options.
“We won’t be disruptive or anything like that, but we have an obligation to tender our services as per the court order, you must remember that if we allow Old Mutual to get away with this we are allowing them to disrespect the law,” Mabuza said, adding that Old Mutual “brazenly issued the statement before the conclusion of the court process”.
This follows the dismissal with costs of the application brought by Old Mutual to stop Moyo from resuming his duties at the High Court in Johannesburg on Friday.
This marks Moyo’s second court victory against the company, which found that Moyo must be temporarily reinstated as CEO as his dismissal was illegal. Old Mutual should have allowed him a disciplinary hearing before accusing him of gross misconduct and firing him, the court found.
This ruling has now been upheld.
Judge Brian Mashile delivered his judgment in the High Court in Johannesburg on Friday, dismissing the insurer’s attempts to keep Moyo away until the company’s appeal of the earlier ruling is concluded.
Following the judgment, Moyo said he would be returning to work on Monday, but the statement from Old Mutual contradicted this, in their latest salvo in the continuing battle between the company and its CEO.