Telkom’s annual general meeting got off to a bang on Friday after controversial former chairman Jeff Molobela withdrew his bid to be re-elected as the director, accusing the company’s board of violating due process.
The move comes after Telkom’s board took the unusual step of recommending to shareholders that they not re-elect Molobela, seen as a divisive figure, as a director. Molobela clashed repeatedly with former top management at Telkom, including former CEO Reuben September and former chief financial officer Peter Nelson.
In a letter handed to shareholders before the commencement of Friday’s AGM, Molobela outlined his reasons for not standing for re-election, accusing the Telkom board of “a dysfunction”.
“I have taken the unusual step of addressing this letter to you as a shareholder of Telkom because the board has taken the unusual step of sending a communique to you in which they have informed you that I am standing for re-election. They have also informed you that through I am eligible for election, they do not support my re-election to the Telkom board. I could have ignored this and let it go, but it would constitute an abdication of duty on my part, a duty to be transparent,” Molobela’s letter to shareholders reads.
“This represents a dysfunction and I would not want to be part of such a board going forward. The length to which they have gone violates due process. This is because I have not been presented with cogent, verifiable reasons for the decision not to support my re-election and the only reason that would suffice would make me ineligible. If there is a valid basis, it has not been communicated to me and certainly not to shareholders. Had there been a board evaluation process preceding this decision, some measure of comfort in the process could have been derived. Sadly, there was not.”
Molobela’s letter continues: “In taking the unusual step of stating that they do not support my re-election, they have created an element of innuendo and this demonstrates that they have not been comprehensive in considering the implications of their decision.
“On my part, I can only speculate that the reason this unusual step could have been taken was my strong objection to a couple of decisions that were not in the interest of Telkom, nor the shareholders. Sadly, due to the position of confidentiality that the act requires me to conduct myself, I cannot give details on these matters. However, I strongly believe that I was acting in the best interest of the company, Telkom.
“The foregoing, and the fact that the chairman of the Telkom board has stated to me that he has the support of the major shareholders of the company, makes my position untenable and as a result I am withdrawing my name for consideration for board election at the AGM on 27 September 2013.” — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media