Dimension Data taken to court over alleged racism

Andile Ngcaba is taking his former employer, Dimension Data, to court over allegations that the company paid him less than his white colleagues.

Ngcaba is claiming over R440 million in damages, including:

  • R261 million worth of unpaid bonuses under Dimension Data’s long-term incentives payment schemes.
  • R170 million in damages, as he believes Dimension Data has breached is obligations to avoid discriminatory practices.
  • R10 million because Ngcaba’s “feelings and dignity were injured.”

Ngcaba, who was the company’s executive chairperson between 2004 and 2017, claims to have discovered that he was being paid less than his peers during a board meeting.

He claims he was unaware of the alleged disparity in pay until the Companies Act was amended, which required Dimension Data to disclose its directors’ remuneration.

Once he discovered this issue, he said he approached the board to resolve it and flew to Japan to talk to the company that owns Dimension Data – Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT).

However, he alleges that his situation was not dealt with properly by Dimension Data.

According to legal documents filed by Ngcaba, Dimension Data’s co-founder and executive chairperson Jeremy Ord defended the company’s decision not to resolve the situation and said that Ngcaba would make large amounts of money out of his BEE shares.

Advocates Dali Mpofu and Tembeka Nicholas Ngcukaitobi, who are representing Ngcaba, said that these statements were perceived by Ngcaba to be racially discriminatory slurs and insults specifically and unfairly reserved for black business persons such as himself.

Dimension Data responds

Dimension Data argued that it does not owe Ngcaba anything.

“Dimension Data Middle East & Africa (MEA) rejects any accusation that its legal dispute with its former Executive Chairman of 12-years, Mr Andile Ngcaba is as a result of alleged racism,” the company said in a statement.

The company said there are a number of factual inaccuracies and unfounded accusations that call for comment.

“His complaint is that he was not the highest-paid person at Dimension Data MEA. This complaint is without merit,” Dimension Data said.

“In his 12-year tenure at Dimension Data MEA, he received (directly and indirectly) in excess of R500 million. This is significantly more than the amounts received by any other executives of Dimension Data MEA over that period.”

Dimension Data also said it was “alarmed” that Ngcaba would allege institutional racism in an organisation that he led for 12 years.

“During that time Mr Ngcaba was Executive Chairman and a member of the Remuneration Committee and was privy to all salary-related information at all levels of the organisation,” the company said.

“At no point in his 12-year tenure did Mr Ngcaba raise any of the issues about which he now complains.”

“If there had been institutional racism in any form, one would have expected him to have addressed this during his tenure, in the interest of all employees,” it added.

The case between Ngcaba and Dimension Data will take place in the Gauteng High Court on Tuesday 10 November.

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Dimension Data taken to court over alleged racism