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newsSowetan reports that “How much do you want to go away?” was a question that retired Constitutional Court (ConCourt) judge Zak Yacoob repeatedly asked the axed director of the KZN Blind and Deaf Society to persuade her to drop a CCMA case.  

Yacoob – who is the society’s president – can be heard telling Shamilla Surjoo to record their telephonic conversation and the recording has been confirmed by both parties.  Yacoob called Surjoo on 1 March 1 to discuss her CCMA (Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration) challenge following her dismissal for gross negligence, breach of fiduciary duties and loss of trust after a financial officer allegedly transferred R12m into her personal accounts.  While Surjoo was not implicated in the fraud and claimed to have blown the whistle on the financial officer, an independent disciplinary committee dismissed her on the grounds that it had occurred under her watch.  This led to Surjoo lodging a complaint with the CCMA in order to be reinstated.  When Yacoob asked her during the call how much money she required to “go away”, Surjoo replied that she could not be bought.  After the call, Yacoob sent Surjoo text messages asking her again to “name the amount”, which he offered to pay from his personal bank account.  Three days later, Yacoob sent a letter of apology to Surjoo via her attorney.

  • Read more of Nivashni Nair’s original Sowetan report on this story at SA Labour News

Get other news reports at the SA Labour News home page