How much South Africa’s top tech CEOs got paid — including one who earned R100 million

The best-paid tech executive in South Africa over the last year was Datatec CEO Jens Montanana, who earned R100 million in salary and bonuses.

Two other executives — former MTN CEO Rob Shuter and Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub — earned R74 million and R55 million, respectively.

While many business leaders highlighted that these competitive salaries are required to keep top executives in the country, the government sees it differently.

Executive salaries are under fire in South Africa following the cabinet’s approval of the Draft Companies Amendment Bill for comment.

The bill proposes substantial changes to the South African Companies Act, including further disclosures around executive pay.

A focus area of the new bill is wage ratios, with companies expected to be more transparent on the difference between the lowest- and highest-paid earners.

Trade and industry minister, Ebrahim Patel, said one of the bill’s aims is to address public concerns regarding high levels of inequality in society.

The equality quest by the left-leaning ANC government may, however, backfire.

Business Leadership South Africa CEO Busi Mavuso has warned that sections of the proposed bill would impact South Africa’s attractiveness as a place to do business.

Mavuso asked why any company, local or foreign, would want to list on a South African bourse when South Africa is putting up so many obstacles while others are doing all they can to attract them.

“Already we have a problem with companies domiciling or listing in Mauritius or London to avoid the bureaucracy of South Africa’s exchange controls – this is another reason for them to do so,” she said.

Other commentators have warned that the new proposed wage ratio disclosure regulations will harm low-level employees rather than help them.

JSE listed companies typically pay high salaries to both skilled and unskilled workers. If a company’s wage ratio is not small enough, the simple solution is to get rid of low paid workers.

It is already happening with many large corporates outsourcing low-skilled work. This new law can accelerate this process and cost jobs.

Instead of increasing the salaries of low-level workers, the Companies Amendment Bill may lead to more people standing in the unemployment line.

Best paid tech CEOs in South Africa

Shoprite chairman Christo Wiese famously said if he could find another Whitey Basson (former Shoprite CEO), he would happily pay him a billion.

“A guy with his talent is terribly rare. And the performance is there,” Wiese said.

Wiese had a good point. Basson turned Checkers around from a massive loss-making company to a profitable entity and, in the process, saved 16,500 jobs.

Basson also grew the company to become the largest food retailer in Africa, comprising 1,649 stores in 15 countries – employing just under 130,000 people.

The same goes for many local IT and telecommunications CEOs who have to work in challenging conditions in South Africa and Africa.

Considering the strong performance of many local tech companies despite South Africa’s problems, these executives are worth the high salaries they earn.

Here are the best-paid IT and telecommunications CEOs over the last financial year.

Tech CEO Pay Packages
Company CEO Total pay package
Datatec Jens Montanana R100 million
MTN Rob Shuter (former CEO) R74 million
Vodacom Shameel Joosub R55 million
MultiChoice SA Calvo Mawela R42 million
Telkom Sipho Maseko R35 million
MTN Ralph Mupita R31 million
Altron Mteto Nyati R23 million
Blue Label Brett Levy R23 million
Blue Label Mark Levy R23 million
EOH Stephen van Coller R15 million
Alviva Pierre Spies R14 million
Net 1 UEPS Lincoln Mali R12 million
Metrofile Pfungwa Serima R11 million
Mustek David Kan R11 million
Eskom André de Ruyter R7.1 million
Alaris Juergen Dresel R6.5 million
SABC Madoda Mxakwe R5.8 million
Sentech Mlamli Booi R4.7 million
Ellies Shaun Prithivirajh R4.5 million
Huge Group James Herbst R4.3 million
Adapt IT Sbu Shabalala R4.0 million
Silverbridge Jaco Swanepoel R3.5 million
Cognition Mark Smith R3.1 million
Broadband Infraco Andrew Matseke R2.8 million
Telemasters Jaco Voigt R1.6 million

Now read: SAA management salaries explained

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How much South Africa’s top tech CEOs got paid — including one who earned R100 million