Deputy Finance Minister and Public Investment Corporation chair Mondli Gungubele has said the board of the state-run asset manager is looking to speedily appoint a forensic investigator so that an investigation into its governance can get underway.
On Wednesday, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene announced that a probe would be initiated into governance at the state-run fund manager, as well as into allegations made against "certain executives" by staff.
The PIC is a government-owned investment vehicle that manages some R2trn in assets. Gungubele met with the PIC board for most of Friday afternoon and spoke to Fin24 afterwards.
He also confirmed that PIC staff raised concerns that allegations they made against PIC CEO Dan Matjila might lead to internal problems for them.
The deputy finance minister said the board on Friday took a decision that the forensic investigation must not be unfair to Matjila or anyone who brought evidence forward, Gungubele said.
On Friday Business Day reported that staff members had sent a letter to PIC management asking that Matjila be suspended during the forensic investigation, so that they would feel safe when presenting evidence.
Gungubele told Business Day that PIC staff members were concerned that they would be muzzled if Matjila stayed in his position during the probe.
September end date
"We did receive that information. But we took a view as the board that we resolved that we have an investigation around the CEO. We are looking for processes and are looking towards an expected September conclusion for all of the processes," Gungubele told Fin24.
The board must put forward what various individuals have claimed, as well as any evidence, for a forensic investigator to examine in detail, Gungubele said.
The board wanted to be "as out of the way of the process as possible" to allow for a credible report.
"There are members of the board who have been asked to fast-track the appointment of a forensic investigator. The sooner this is done, the better it will be for the corporation, the board and for staff," Gungubele said.
Asked about allegations from staff that the board was securing the interests of private business individuals, he said it was not surprising that allegations like these would emerge as governance challenges at the PIC came to a head.
"There are a lot of statements and movements around this issue. Where I am sitting, I don’t share a view that the minister delayed the process [of the investigation]. He attended to questions submitted to him and had to go through his own processes before acting," Gungubele said.
"My attitude, and I believe it is the attitude of the board, is that all disputes of this nature will be followed by stories.
"Who has an interest and who not is neither here or there. We need to deal with the facts that are in front of us," he said.
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