Axed Absa director Pityana says bank attacking his right to defend his name

Absa fired Sipho Pityana as director after the relationship between the parties broke down.

 Sipho Pityana sits down with EWN for an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on 20 January 2017. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Former Absa board director Sipho Pityana said that the banking group was attacking his constitutional right to defend his name in court.

Absa fired Pityana as a director after the relationship between the parties broke down.

The group said that Pityana failed to prove that he didn’t cause harm after he dragged the South African Reserve Bank’s Prudential Authority to court, accusing it of blocking his nomination as Absa board chair.

Pityana’s relationship with the Absa board deteriorated after he sued the Prudential Authority, alleging interference in his nomination as Absa board chair.

Absa, which said that the businessman was not in the running for that position anyway, cut ties with him.

It stressed that he failed to conduct himself in the interests of the bank but Pityana is not done with his legal pursuits.

He said that the notion that his decision to take the authority on in court deemed him negligent was far fetched.

"The Companies Act, in terms of which they have taken a resolution to remove me, as the requirements of those provisions have not been met and this is the decision that the Absa board took that I supposedly neglected my duties, which is far-fetched, a great stretch by any imagination," Pityana said.

Absa is adamant that Pityana’s lawsuit has caused negative publicity and reputational harm for the bank.

The Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals said that Pityana's axing from Absa was a setback for the credibility of the banking sector.

The association's Langa Madonko: "We emphasise the fact that we are still considering all the facts as they play out in this scenario. Fundamentally, everybody's looking out for what are in the best interests of the bank."

Additional reporting by Mia Lindeque.