The Public Investment Corporation has settled all outstanding financial issues related to former its chief executive Dan Matjila’s exit and he has been paid out “R486 000 plus”.
This according to Mondli Gungubele, who is the PIC’s chairperson and deputy finance minister.
This emerged at the commission of inquiry into allegations of impropriety regarding the PIC that has resumed hearing testimony in Pretoria today. The commission heard testimony for six days in January and resumed hearings today.
In another development, evidence leader Jannie Lubbe said that Gungubele had agreed to a forensic lifestyle audit that would be conducted by the commission and that audit would be completed in the next week or two.
The lifestyle audit was in relation to the allegations against Gungubele made in an email by whistleblower, who goes by the name “James Noko”, Lubbe added.
Matjila’s exit follows a letter he wrote to Gungubele in November last year that his position as the state fund manager was “untenable and intolerable”.
In a letter dated November 8, Matjila said that he had been “on an almost continuous basis” he had faced a series of “investigations” since 2017.
“In my view and that of my legal advisers [the investigations] are not disciplinary or performance related but seem politically motivated or inspired by other ulterior motives to which I am not privy and clearly targeted at me, either at worst to brand me as corrupt and pliable to undue influence or at best to force me out of the company,” he wrote.
“Given that these ‘investigations’ have revealed no sustainable evidence of wrongful conduct but rather expressed confidence in my role, the above conclusion is unavoidable. This is even more so when it is considered that under my tenure the business of the company has grown manifold, the appraisal of my performance has been largely positive and at no stage has it instituted any form of disciplinary hearing against me,” Matjila wrote.
“Under the circumstances my work situation is untenable and intolerable, with strong prima facie grounds of constructive dismissal,” he wrote.
He added that there had been a fundamental breakdown in trust between him and the PIC.
“Without this trust relationship it is impossible for the employee/employer relationship to function in the manner required; hence I invite all of us to act in the best interest of the company,” Matjila wrote.
Gungubele read out the letter this morning at the PIC Inquiry, which is holding hearings into alleged improprieties at the funder manager, where he was testifying for the first time.
The PIC board considered Matjila’s letter where he indicated his “intention to resign” and decided to accept his resignation with immediate effect but disregarded Matjila’s offer to tender this resignation and then service out a notice period until April 30, 2019, he said.
Appointing a new PIC chief executive after Matjila’s exit proved to be difficult, Gungubele said.
Ultimately, the PIC board was split 50:50 on appointing PIC chief financial officer Matshepo More and Gungubele made the casting vote that led to More’s appointment as acting PIC chief executive in late November 2018.
Gungubele said he had landed in “dramatic” fashion when he joined the PIC as its chairperson in May 2018.
He said that the PIC board had been split when it came to issues around Matjila.
Read: PIC ignored alarm Ayo raised
The PIC inquiry’s assistant to the commissioner, Gill Marcus, asked Gungubele whether the PIC loan to MST, which is associated with Pretty Louw had been repaid. Louw had an alleged relationship with Matjila.
Initially, Gungubele said he could only answer Marcus’ question after additional investigation.
However, Wilna Louw, PIC acting company secretary, said at the inquiry that the MST loan from the PIC was not being serviced and the company was in default.
Marcus said that the PIC doesn’t have sufficient board members to make decisions.
“The board is in limbo,” she said while examining and questioning Gungubele’s testimony.
Regarding the R4.3 billion Ayo Technology deal, Gungubele said that “the breach of procedure was so huge” related to the deal and he added that it was “brazenly breached”.
The PIC board unanimously in January decided to suspend executive head of listed investments Fidelis Madavo and assistant portfolio manager Victor Seanie, Gungubele said.
The PIC board was concerned by Madavo and Seanie’s conduct related to the Ayo deal.
“The verdict of the board was that they weren’t helping the investigation,” Gungubele said.
“This was so clear and crystal that their conduct was undermining the investigation,” he added.
Gungubele told the inquiry that the staff of the PIC had no confidence in the fund manager’s whistleblower policy.
Lubbe asked Gungubele about allegations that board minutes had been tampered with.
“Do you know improper altering of minutes to not reflect the true position?” Lubbe said.
“There are instances where minutes have been corrected,” Gungubele said.
“During my tenure I haven’t come across fraudulent minutes,” he said.
Gungubele said that there were measures in place at the PIC to deal with politically exposed persons involved in deals with it.
Lubbe said that the inquiry had received many complaints about alleged discrimination when its comes to the PIC’s remuneration practices.
Lubbe asked Gungubele whether in these turbulent times was its “advisable” that a politician should be chairperson of the PIC.
“I believe I’m dealing with this matter dispassionately,” he added.
“There is no way you can divorce this institution from political influence,” Gungubele said.