For the third time, Ramaphosa extends PIC commission deadline

Former president of the Supreme Court of Appeal, Justice Lex Mpati (AFP)
Former president of the Supreme Court of Appeal, Justice Lex Mpati (AFP)

For the third time, President Cyril Ramaphosa has extended the deadline for the final report of the Commission of Inquiry into allegations of impropriety regarding Public Investment Corporation (PIC).

In a statement, the presidency said that the extension was granted upon the request of the commissioner of the inquiry, judge Lex Mpati.

The commission was appointed by Ramaphosa in October 2017, and it was supposed to submit its final report by April this year. Ramaphosa extended that deadline to July 31th, and then to end of October. It has now been extended to December 15th.

Over the course of eight months, the commission heard from 77 witnesses, including former PIC boss Dan Matjila who told the commission he was ousted for political reasons.

The commission received details of several disastrous PIC investments, including in Steinhoff and Erin Energy, which is linked to former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene's son.

Several witnesses also told the commission that the R4.3bn the PIC paid for tech firm AYO was far too much. The PIC invested in the IT company in late 2017.

Former chief investment officer of AYO Technology Solutions, Siphiwe Nodwele, who resigned in August 2018, said the IT company was valued between R700m and R1bn – and not R14.8bn as the PIC determined. AYO is linked to Sekunjalo Group, of which businessman Dr Iqbal Survé is the executive chairman.

In April, the Mpati commission heard that millions of rands from the PIC investment into AYO went to two companies linked to Survé the day after it was listed on the JSE.

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A war of words broke out between Mpati and Survé, after Survé accused public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan of trying to influence the commission of inquiry against Survé’s companies.

In a strongly worded statement, Mpati lashed out against Survé, saying that the accusations are “part of an on-going attempt to discredit the work of the Commission, the integrity of the Commissioners and an endeavour to influence its findings.

“The Commission will not tolerate interference in its work from any quarter. Nor will it countenance attempts to influence or intimidate it, irrespective of who may attempt to do so," Mpati said.

"The Commission will continue with its work without fear or favour and reserves the right to take action, in accordance with the regulations, against any party who seeks to interfere in its work.” 

Read: Judge rubbishes Survé's claim that he is Gordhan's pal

The PIC manages R2trn in public funds and invests on behalf of the Government Employee Pension Fund.

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