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'R1 million salary hike for Wesgro CEO Tim Harris can't be justified' - Herron

8 July 2020 12:51 PM
Tags:
Wesgro
Tim Harris

Good Party Brett Herron and former Wesgro board chair Brian Figaji share their perspectives with Refilwe Moloto.

The board at Wesgro, the Western Cape tourism, trade and investment promotion agency, has approved a very large salary increase for its CEO, Tim Harris, making his salary R2.5 million, despite questions being raised by more than one of its directors.

Not only have there been questions raised about the appropriateness of the increase, and its timing, but there have also been allegations of political interference.

The fallout has seen the board chair, Brian Figaji resign and Good Party's Brett Herron sounding alarm bells.

Brian Figaji and Brett Herron share their perspectives with Refilwe Moloto.

Herron says he spoke to MEC David Maynier who indicated he had not been consulted on the increase, despite this being a stipulation of the Wesgro Act. Maynier then indicated that the board had reviewed the increase down.

But even so, it is an increase of about R950,000 which Herron says is excessive generally, but even more so in such difficult economic times.

It is unjustifiable and there are questions that need to be answered.

Brett Herron, Secretary-general - Good Party

MEC Maynier refused the invitation to join the discussion on Breakfast with Refilwe.

Brian Figaji disputes Herron's facts. He says the MeC is only obligated to be consulted on the initial appointment of the CEO. The CEO may only serve two 5-year terms.

Thereafter it is the board's responsibility entirely to renew the term and adjust the salary.

We have a board of very prominent business people. They are not going to allow me as the chairman or anybody else to flout the rules.

Prof Brian Figaji, Former chair - Wesgro Board

Figaji explains the process from his perspective including that the salary increase decision was voted on unanimously, and only five days later were objections raised by board member Judith February.

He argues that the salary package increase came about through obtaining the services of an external expert to benchmark the salaries.

He refutes Herron's claims of the amount the salary was increased.

950 is the incorrect number.

Prof Brian Figaji, Former chair - Wesgro Board

He says the bonus is performance-related so cannot be included in the salary number.

Figaji says perhaps they should have adjusted the CEO's salary incrementally over the 5 years but they did not do so, and that is why the amount now seems so high.

He says he resigned because he is concerned about MEC Maynier's overreach.

He came back three times to ask us to review this matter and I thought that was now a level of interference that I couldn't tolerate anymore.

Prof Brian Figaji, Former chair - Wesgro Board

Herron responds that there are questions around the entire process. But in addition, there are common sense and fiduciary duty questions.

A salary increase of nearly R1million cannot be justified.

Brett Herron, Secretary-general - Good Party

Listen to the discussion below:


8 July 2020 12:51 PM
Tags:
Wesgro
Tim Harris

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