Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

PIC boss Dan Matjila scorns ‘frivolous’ UDM bid to have him suspended

Public Investment Corporation (PIC) boss Dan Matjila has dismissed as “frivolous” and baseless, a court application by the United Democratic Movement  (UDM) to have him suspended.

In an affidavit filed in the Pretoria high court earlier this month, Matjila says the allegations levelled against him by the party led by Bantu Holomisa have already been dealt with, and the PIC board found him not guilty of any misconduct.

The PIC is a government-run investment manager which holds approximately R1.9-trillion in assets on behalf of government entities and pension funds.

In June, the UDM filed an urgent court application seeking an order empowering the finance minister Nhlanhla Nene to suspend Matjila over allegations of corruption. 

Holomisa approached the court to seek Matjila’s suspension following reports that he used PIC funds to fund the business of a woman said to be his romantic partner, Pretty Louw. The allegation surfaced in September 2017. Holomisa argues the PIC’s board is conflicted in the matter.

Matjila has consistently denied romantic involvement with Louw.

Holomisa has also written letters to Nene and President Cyril Ramaphosa asking that Matjila be removed, and that what he has described as an “iceberg of corruption” at the PIC be investigated.

Nene is opposing the bid to force him to fire Matjila, saying his department is already probing allegations of governance breaches at the Public Investment Corporation. He has also said the “invitation to the court to usurp the minister’s powers” would be a breach of the principle of separation of powers.

Response

In his responding affidavit, Matjila says there is “no public interest implicated” and that “at best” the issues contained in the UDM’s court application “relate to employer/employee relationship”.

He calls for the matter to be “dismissed with costs and not simply struck from the roll, as the applicant was aware even before launching this application that its application is frivolous […].”

An amount of R21-million is said to have been paid to a company called Mobile Satellite Technologies (MST), allegedly linked to Louw.

Matjila admits that the funds were paid into MST’s bank account by the PIC, but an internal audit found that “Ms Louw was not a shareholder or director at MST”.

Matjila is also accused of asking Lawrence Mulaudzi, a representative of Ascendis, in which the PIC had invested, to settle Louw’s personal debt amounting to R300 000.

In his responding affidavit, Matjila says he can only be suspended when there are pending allegations or investigation against him, and that there is no basis to justify his suspension, as the allegation levelled against him “were dealt with through a transparent process” where he was called to defend himself.

“On 15 September 2017, the board issued a press statement where it expressed its confidence in me and indicated that it has accepted my representations.”

“This decision of the board remains binding and was never challenged nor set aside,” he said.

He further states that that an internal audit he initiated to probe the claim had concluded that the allegation were baseless.

But the relationship between himself and Pretty Louw was excluded from the internal investigation.

No gross misconduct

Matjila contends that he has acted “diligently, honestly and with integrity” as CEO of the PIC, despite the “frivolous” allegations which were made against him in 2017.

“There is not even a shadow of what could be perceived as misconduct, let alone gross misconduct.”

Nene, who is one of the four respondents in the case, has called the UDM application “overly-eager”, saying the party failed to establish facts before bringing the application.

He does, however, say that he is “deeply concerned about alleged governance problems at the PIC”, which require “urgent attention and resolve”.

The PIC has in the recent past been implicated in improper conduct, including allegations some of its officials paid and received bribes from the VBS Mutual Bank. The PIC’s legal head resigned Friday, after he testified before the a forensic investigation into the bank. — Fin24

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Mbeki tells ANC that land without compensation goes against the...

‘This would be a very serious disincentive to investment,’ says Thabo Mbeki in a document arguing that the ANC should not proceed with the Constitutional amendment of section 25

Micro-hydropower lights up an Eastern Cape village

There is hidden potential for small hydropower plants in South Africa

More top stories

SIU freezes R22-million in Digital Vibes accounts

The Special Investigating Unit said it would ask the tribunal to declare the health department’s contract with the company unlawful

Life-saving free train travel offered to domestic abuse victims in...

A pioneering railway scheme in the UK is helping domestic violence victims to escape their abusers by providing them with free travel to reach refuge

Oral submissions to inquiry on local government elections start next...

The hearings will be open to the media and the public, under strict level-three regulations

Education employees queue for Covid jabs, but some may have...

People who have had Covid-19 in the past 30 days or who have had a flu shot in the past 14 days will be vaccinated at a later date
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×