Adapt IT CEO Sbu Shabalala said the armed assault allegations against him are without merit, describing it as a “cold-hearted campaign” which must be condemned.
Yesterday Adapt IT announced that Shabalala has taken a leave of absence for three months to “attend to personal matters”.
This news came a day after serious armed assault allegations by his estranged wife, Neo, in a Sunday Times report.
Neo accused Sbu Shabalala of ordering heavily armed men to beat up her partner, who is now in critical condition in hospital.
Sbu Shabalala is currently in a legal dispute with his estranged wife over money. Neo is claiming part of his assets which she says is valued over R133 million.
According to Neo, Sbu told her after her partner’s assault “I have given you seven months to sign [an agreement in their legal dispute] and you haven’t. You have 30 days to sign.”
Following the attack, Neo was granted an urgent restraining order against Sbu from entering the Zimbali property where she lives.
Adapt IT’s share price fell by over 12% following this news, and on Monday the company announced Shabalala was stepping down for three months to attend to personal matters.
Shabalala initially declined to comment on advice from his legal representatives. He said this was because of the divorce court proceedings and the inherently private nature of the matter.
He has now broken his silence as he wanted to “clarify my leave in context to the allegations made”.
Shabalala said he has decided to take extended leave following advice from those who care about him.
“The last five months have been some of the most difficult of my life. After more than 15 years of the relentless work of building a JSE-listed entity, I need a little respite. Time for rest and self-care while I deal with personal battles,” he said.
“I’ve had family tragedies, at a time when the business is going through its most important business lifecycle.”
“In the midst of this, I am now being accused of violent and uncharacteristic behaviour, in what is clearly an unrelated attack. I have been caught in the crossfire.”
Shabalala said this has taken a toll on his well-being.
“My instinct is to soldier on. However, those closest to me, who care for me, have advised that I take time out for self and family care. I listened. Hence my decision to take leave,” he said.
He said his trust in the competence and excellence of his management team made the decision somewhat easier.
“Taking time to regroup is an essential part of good leadership and there is never a perfect time,” he said.
Shabalala described the armed assault allegations against him as being without merit.
“The best way to deal with them is through the judicial system,” he said.
“This is not only to clear my name of wrongdoing but to also bring those who are using my proximity to the situation to serve their own ends. This campaign is cold-hearted and must be condemned.”
“I hope this clarifies my position as I will not be engaging these issues until I have resolved the dispute.”