PIC inquiry to go ahead despite Matjila resignation - Gungubele

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The departure of the Public Investment Corporation CEO Dan Matjila will not hinder the commission of inquiry tasked with probing allegations of maladministration into the institution, board chairman Mondli Gungubele has said.

Matjila resigned on Friday amid allegations of poor governance that have dogged the continent’s largest asset manager in recent years.

"Matjila is not the PIC. The inquiry will go ahead as planned.

"However, he will be called to testify, should the need arise," said Gungubele.

President Cyril Ramaphosa last month published the terms of reference for a judicial inquiry that will look at the allegations of corruption at the institution dating as far back as 2015.

Before his resignation, Matjila was the subject of an internal investigation involving the funding a business owned by a woman said to be his girlfriend. He was later cleared of any wrongdoing.

PIC Chief Financial Officer Matshepo More has been appointed as interim head of the institution, which manages investments worth R2trn on behalf of the Government Employees Pension Fund and other government funds.

Gungubele, who is also Deputy Finance Minister, said finding a replacement for Matjila was "viewed as urgent by the board".

"When a man of his stature resigns, it creates a lot doubt…we have to move fast to create a stable climate," said Gungubele.

Former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene announced the inquiry aimed at fixing governance issues in July 2018. he state-run asset manager appointed CFO Matshepo More as acting director.

According to Lumkile Mondi, Senior Lecturer at the School of Economics and Business Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand, Matjila’s resignation was a step towards "restoring public trust" in the institution.

"Restoring the credibility of the institution must now take centre stage…Tthe PIC cannot afford to suffer any more reputational damage," said Mondi.

The terms of reference for the commission into the PIC, to be headed by former Supreme Court of Appeal president Judge Lex Mpati, include examining "alleged impropriety regarding investment decisions by the PIC in media reports in 2017 and 2018".

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