Belamant retires as Net 1 CEO

CEO and director of NET1 Serge Belamant. PICTURE: SOURCED/BusinessLive
CEO and director of NET1 Serge Belamant. PICTURE: SOURCED/BusinessLive
Net 1 UEPS Technologies announced on Thursday that Serge Belamant will retire as chief executive officer (CEO) and a director of the company at the end of May.

The company’s subsidiary Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) has been responsible for the payment of social security grants since 2012.

In 2013 the Constitutional Court declared the five-year contract with the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) invalid due to tender irregularities.

However‚ the court allowed CPS to continue administering the grants‚ while Sassa devised an in-house payment system.

But on March 3 this year‚ Sassa and the social development department informed the Constitutional Court that it was not in a position to take over the payment functions from CPS.

In a judgment in March‚ CPS was ordered to process grant payments until March 31 2018. The court also ordered Sassa to submit a plan that outlines how it will ensure the payment of social grants after March 31 2018.

Fund manager Allan Gray‚ which holds about 16% of Net 1‚ has been critical of the company and Belamant following claims that it was exploiting grants beneficiaries personal information.

Net 1 has been accused of illegally using information from the beneficiaries and sharing it with its subsidiaries‚ which then sell services such as airtime and loans.

Net1 has denied the claims it acted illegally.

Net1 said in a statement that Herman Kotzé‚ currently the company’s chief financial officer‚ has been appointed as CEO effective June 1.

Belamant‚ who is the founder of Net1‚ was due to retire at age 65 in 2018.

“However to facilitate changes to the Company’s operating and management structures and also noting the views expressed by certain of the Company’s shareholders‚ the Board and Mr. Belamant agreed on an earlier retirement date of May 31‚ 2017‚” the company said in a statement.

The company said to facilitate changes to the company’s operating and management structures‚ the board and Belamant agreed on an earlier retirement date of May 31.

Belamant will provide consulting services to the company for a two-year period after his retirement.

Kotzé has been with the company for over 18 years and has been its CFO since 2004.

The company’s board said it had initiated a search for a new CFO.

Until a new appointment is made‚ Kotzé will serve as both CEO and CFO.

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