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Pityana: Reserve Bank blocked me from Absa top job over false harassment claims

26 October 2021 2:05 PM
Tags:
Sipho Pityana
Reserve bank
Maria Ramos
sexual harassment allegations
Absa chair

Midday Report host Mandy Wiener chats to Sipho Pityana about the legal action he's taking after he was snubbed for the position of Absa chair.
  • Business exec Sipho Pityana is taking the Reserve Bank to court
  • Pityana claims the Reserve Bank's banking authority blocked his nomination to become Absa's chairperson
  • He says the banking regulator circumvented appointment processes and used a false sexual harassment allegation against him

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

Top South African business executive Sipho Pityana says the Reserve Bank must be held accountable for blocking him from becoming Absa’s chairperson.

Pityana is taking legal action against the Reserve Bank's Prudential Authority for allegedly blocking his nomination for the top job.

In a statement issued this week, the former AngloGold Ashanti chairman claims that former Absa CEO Maria Ramos went public with a false sexual harassment charge against him.

He alleges that Ramos was instrumental in influencing the regulatory division of the Reserve Bank to fight his appointment using "informal processes" outside of the standard procedure.

But the Reserve Bank has denied claims that it told the board of Absa that it would object to Pityana's appointment.

What has happened here is that the Reserve Bank has circumvented what is provided for in the law and they have inserted themselves in processes that are supposed to be board processes determining the criteria, wanting to see the shortlist, as a result, placing themselves in a position of basically determining who the chair of the board should be, which is the role of the board. That is the unlawfulness in the action.

Sipho Pityana, Businessman

The independent legal review appointed by Absa Bank as a result of Ms Ramos' taking this matter up with the Reserve Bank, even though it was deemed confidential, suggested that in fact, that investigation by AngloGold Ashanti was flawed, and therefore the allegations against me remain untested.

Sipho Pityana, Businessman

During his time as chairperson of Anglo Ashanti, Pityana was accused of sexual harassment and an independent investigation was conducted into the allegations.

It's alleged that the business exec took the unknown complainant to a restaurant alone in February 2019.

After dinner, he apparently gave her a lift back to her hotel, put his hand on top of hers, and told her he loved her

According to reports, he offered to escort her to her hotel room but she objected and he left.

Pityana has denied the sexual harassment allegations against him and maintains that nothing untoward happened.

He also disputes claims that he was with the woman alone or that he offered her a lift.

My security personnel was around and the records show that they were there contrary to what she alleges that I was alone... We left the restaurant [and went] directly to my office. We never gave her a lift and we never went via her hotel.

Sipho Pityana, Businessman

The Reserve Bank basically ignored an independent review report by a competent legal team that had been appointed... and seemed to have taken a view that this is something that they could use against me, even though they deny that they took a decision to not support my appointment.

Sipho Pityana, Businessman



26 October 2021 2:05 PM
Tags:
Sipho Pityana
Reserve bank
Maria Ramos
sexual harassment allegations
Absa chair

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