Cell C’s Top Six Decide Their Own Hefty Remuneration

"lf I may add the following, I do not understand why there is such a f*g noise regarding the monies that have been paid out, both internally and in the media."

Cell C Head Office
Cell C Head Office (Photo Credit: archibuild.businesscatalyst.com)

The Cell C board did not approve hefty bonuses to the company’s executives and senior staff, insiders have revealed.

Earlier this month, TechFinancials exclusively reported that Cell C staff have asked the company’s chairman and board to investigate why executives and senior staff were paid hefty bonuses in light of the firm’s poor performance.

This after staff members were informed they would not be paid any bonuses this year because the mobile phone operator had not met its EBITDA 2017 targets.

It has since emerged that the company has paid three executives – led by Cell C CEO Jose Dos Santos – a staggering R219 million. For more read: R219 Million Paid To Three Top Execs At Cell C In 2017

A group of workers calling themselves “The Concerned & Frustrated Employees of Cell C” raised the matter with Cell C Chairman Kuben Pillay. For more read: Workers Call For Probe Into Multi-Million Rand Payments Made To Cell C Executives

This week on Thursday TechFinancials was informed by a reliable source at the company that Chairman Pillay recently told the concerned staff that the board did not “approve these payouts”.

Asked for comment, Pillay said this is factually incorrect.

“We would like to categorically state that all incentives, schemes, and structures received the necessary approvals of the respective boards and shareholders, based on best practice and proper governance,” he said in an emailed response.

“In addition, all of the amounts are reflected in our annual financial statements, which are independently audited. This matter is being addressed at all levels internally, as is required.”

It has also emerged that some executives were not happy with the media attention the multi-million bonus payout has attracted. For more read: ROB ROSE: The nerve of Cell C executives

Correspondence in the hands of staff who have adopted the moniker “Concerned & Frustrated Employees of Cell C” details the bonuses paid to executives and senior staff.

Hilton Coverley, Cell C’s Executive of lnformal Channel, says in correspondence seen by TechFinancials: “If I may add the following, I do not understand why there is such a f*g noise regarding the monies that have been paid out, both internally and in the media.

“As far as I am concerned, it is like belonging to a club, such as a golf club, and when the club faces relegation, a team is selected to go out and get money to save the club from relegation.

“If that team has performed in securing money then those individuals must be paid … If the team is saved from relegation, then those people must be (curse word) get paid.”

“We saved 3000 jobs”.

More “irregular” payments

Cell C logo
Cell C logo / Marketing Spread

Some disgruntled Cell C executives have quit.

In May, Cell C chief procurement and property officer Sherhaad Kajee and chief digital officer Nihmal Marrie left the mobile phone operator. In the same month, Cell C chief financial officer, Tyrone Soondarjee announced his departure from the position he occupied since June 2017.

The correspondence also acknowledges the tension at the company.

“Tensions continue at Cell C as more irregular bonus and incentive schemes are uncovered,” says part of the lengthy letter, which also details bonus payments made.

In October 2017, the leadership through internal communication informs the Cell C employees that bonuses will only be paid provided the overall new stretched target is achieved.

However, according to the correspondence, Dos Santos rejects the remuneration committee bonuses payout decision to employees.

At the same time, R61.5 million is secretly paid to 134 selected senior management members.

Staff at Cell C found out about the payments and “threaten” to embark on a go slow.

An internal communication then announces that discretionary bonuses will be paid to employees. The note adds that R23.9 million is pooled and paid to 2,088 employees.

In November 2017, the note reveals that under a so-called “lncentive Scheme 1″ R75 million was paid to the following every 6 months:

Cell C’s Top 6 Executives

  • Doug Mattheus: Chief Marketing Officer,
  • Hilton Coverly: Executive lnformal Channel,
  • Danial Baker: Unknown,
  • Robert Parsely: Chief Strategy/Finance Office,
  • Graham Mackinnon: Chief Legal Officer, and
  • Jose Dos Santos: CEO.

In August 2017, R81 million is paid to all chiefs and selected executive, while in September R75 million was paid to the top six individuals (listed above).

Furthermore, a windfall of R75 million was paid in January 2018 to the top 6 at Cell C.

Another amount of R7.3 million was shared by the following Chiefs and executives: Marrie Nihma – R1 million, Soondarjee Tyron – R1,2 million, Craigie Stevenson Douglas – R1, 2 million, Muhango Juliet – R 1 million, Visser Schalk – R200,000.00, Vermulen Archie – R600,000.00, Oakes Reece – R120,000.00, Florman Bjorn – R1,2 million and Ramasery Surie – R800,000.00.

The top six also got paid hefty sums of R75 million in July 2018. As much as R52.2 million was paid to the top six and two executives in August 2018.

“Millions of rands being disguised as incentive schemes and not approved by the board are being paid out to the so-called top 6 and selected senior management whilst employee bonus remain unpaid,” concluded the correspondence. – lourie@techfinancials.co.za



  1. I think its time the Hawks investigate this company or the public protector to protect the rights of ordinary workers. Imagine so much millions paid to a few individuals. @Julius_s_Malema and @EFFSouthAfrica @Floydshivambu @MbuyiseniNdlozi help the workers at Cell C.
    CWU or @ANC they dont care about workers issues. No bonus for workers these few whites are creaming it at Cell C.

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