RETIRED ConCourt Judge Zak Yacoob has once again found himself in hot water over a recording in which he repeatedly asked the axed director of the KZN Blind and Deaf Society to persuade her to drop her case at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
In a telephonic conversation with Shamilla Surjoo, Yacoob – who is the society’s president – tells her to record the conversation so that it can go “all over the internet.”
Surjoo took the Society to the CCMA after it dismissed her for gross negligence and breach of fiduciary duties following allegations that a financial officer deposited R12m into her bank account. An independent disciplinary committee found she was not implicated in the fraud but fired her on the grounds that the fraud happened under her watch.
Surjoo’s version was that she was the whistleblower who exposed the financial manager and took to the CCMA for reinstatement.
The retired judge then called her to ask her how much money she wanted to “go away”.
In the recording, apart from offering Surjoo money to go away, he also calls her lawyer “the most idiotic lawyer I have seen in the world….I don’t want to talk to your lawyer, Im talking to you. So tell me, how much do you want?”
The disdain in his voice is similar to one he displayed some years ago when former Sunday Times journalist, Piet Rampedi, working on the Rogue Unit story at the time, contacted him about allegations of an SMS he had sent to Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane with a view of securing a meeting to influence the outcome of the report which implicated Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and Sars Commissioners Johan van Lorregenberg and Ivan Pillay. Sikhakhane Report
Listen to the recording below as Judge Yacoob calls Rampedi an idiot and that whatever it is he discusses with Sikhakhane is none of Rampedi’s “bloody business…What the hell does that have to do with you nosy puckers?”, he asks.
“Please explain to me what that has to do with you you damn idiot,” and he continues in this tirade calling the journalist an idiot.
The caption on the recording of the interview, posted on iCloud reads: “Rampedi had conducted the interview with Justice Yacoob on March 5 last year, as part of his SARS rogue unit probe while working for Sunday Times, but his former employers refused to publish the story and others, resulting in his resignation in protest”.