BUSA: Now top cops must probe Matjila and Markus Jooste

Sipho Pityana, president of Business Unity South Africa, has called for law enforcement agencies to further investigate former Public Investment Corporation CEO Dan Matjila and others following the findings of a commission of inquiry into the state-owned asset manager.

The Presidency on Thursday released a damning final report on matters of governance at the PIC, which manages over R2 trillion in assets. The nearly 1 000-page report detailed a number of governance and procedural failures, as well as improper application of due diligence in key investments.

The commission had probed the PIC's investments into Ayo Technologies - in which businessman Iqbal Survé has an indirect stake - at an apparently inflated price; and retailer Steinhoff, which saw its share price plunge by some 95% after its then-CEO Markus Jooste was embroiled in an accounting scandal.

The PIC extended R9.35 billion to empowerment group Lancaster 101 to buy shares in Steinhoff in 2016. At the time of the inquiry, it defended its decision to do so.  

The report, however, found that there were a number of irregularities in the deal, flagging a suspicion of collusion between Lancaster's chair, former trade unionist Jayendra Naidoo, and Matjila.

Among other findings, the report described several adverse findings against Matjila's conduct as head of the institution.

Pityana called for "immediate" further action by law enforcement agencies.

"Former PIC CEO Dan Matjila must immediately be investigated by the law enforcement agencies, along with beneficiaries such as Iqbal Survé, Jayendra Naidoo and Markus Jooste," he said in a statement.

Urgent action

"The report released by the president is damning. Investigators and prosecutors need to study the report as a matter of urgency, assess the evidence and act where possible," said Pityana.

"Now we need to see the same quality of work, and the same impact, from the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority."

Matjila resigned as head of Africa's largest asset manager in November 2018, amid allegations of corruption at the institution.

He is yet to respond to the findings made against him in the report.

"It is essential for the integrity of not only the PIC inquiry but all judicial inquiries that we see speedy action – preferably in the form of criminal charges, where possible – against the people who were at the centre of the looting and abuse of public money and pension fund savings," added Pityana.

BUSA, an association of corporate companies, also wants action to be taken against companies that improperly benefited from the PIC. 

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