The judicial inquiry into state-run asset manager the Public Investment Corporation on Tuesday heard testimony about the alleged divisive leadership style adopted by the PIC's former Chief Financial Officer, Matshepo More, who is now its acting CEO.
According to the testimony, this included favouritism and the selective bumping up of salaries.
Giving evidence before the inquiry, former executive head of Information Technology, Luyanda Ntuane, testified that More "led a culture that was not only divisive but also created a great deal of distrust" among employees.
The PIC manages assets worth more than R2trn. Its largest client is the Government Employees' Pension Fund.
The inquiry, headed by former president of the Supreme Court of Appeal, Justice Lex Mpati, is investigating allegations of impropriety and maladministration at fund manager.
Ntuane said that during his tenure at the PIC, he witnessed "a number of incidents" where salaries were adjusted for "select" individuals, based on More's directive.
The adjustments were "facilitated through collusive behaviour with some of the executive heads", he added.
"I believe the commission must investigate and into the payroll of the PIC, and note the changes in salaries and bonus payouts over the years," he said, adding that some employees enjoyed salary hikes that exceeded those of their bosses.
Ntuane said the "rampant unfairness" of salary reviews, adjustments and bonus allocations was orchestrated by the CFO who, through "shrewd tactics", would ensure that decisions were recorded as EXCO decisions.
'Viewed herself as indispensable'
Ntuane told the inquiry More "viewed herself as indispensable to the organisation" and would sometimes point out that "she is the only director that does not have a term limit".
More was appointed acting CEO following the resignation of Dan Matjila in November 2018.
The issue of the PIC's incentive pool has come up repeatedly in the commission. There were allegations that an annual amount – set aside to pay performance-based bonuses – was irregularly scaled down in 2016 and 2017.
Ntuane, who joined the PIC in December 2012, left the company in May 2016, following an investigation linked to allegations of serious misconduct, which he told the commission were a ploy meant to discredit him.