Mystery witness set to testify before PIC commission

A Public Investment Corporation (PIC) employee is all we know about the witness who will appear before the Mpati commission on Wednesday.

The commission extended the public hearings by a day on Tuesday but would not be drawn into revealing who the mystery witness is.

The commission is headed by former Supreme Court of Appeal president justice Lex Mpati who is assisted by former Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus and asset management and investment expert Emmanual Lediga.

In a statement issued on Tuesday evening, the commission said the mystery witness would be the last witness of the week.

Former PIC non-executive director Claudia Manning was the only witness to take the stand on Tuesday where she spoke about the fractured state of the board during the period between September 2017 until her resignation in 2018.


READ MORE: Deputy finance minister ‘exposes PIC board to political interference’

Manning said allegations of corruption against the chief executive had polarised the board who could not agree on how to handle the issue.

Matjila was accused of channelling the PIC’s corporate social investment money to an alleged girlfriends business. In addition to this, he was accused of instructing a company that has done work with the PIC to settle the woman’s personal debt.

Manning said the board had accepted Matjila’s explanations about the transactions that were backed by an internal audit investigation that cleared him of any wrongdoing.

This view was not accepted by new board chairperson, deputy minister Mondli Gungubele, who said that the board had blindly relied on Matjila’s explanation and had not conducted an independent investigation. This distrust from the chair triggered Manning’s resignation.

Asked if Matjila had a strong hold on the board, Manning said the statement was “offensive”.

“Most of us are professionals with reputations that we would like to keep and hopefully secure. Certainly, I can speak for myself and say under no circumstances did I feel like the CEO was controlling me or any member of the board,” Manning said.

The commission will resume with the public hearings from February 25. In the meantime, it’s expected that an interim report will be handed to President Cyril Ramaphosa by mid-February. 

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Tebogo Tshwane
Tebogo Tshwane

Tebogo Tshwane is an Adamela Trust financial journalism trainee at the Mail & Guardian. She was previously a general news intern at Eyewitness News and a current affairs show presenter at the Voice of Wits FM. Tshwane is passionate about socioeconomic issues and understanding how macroeconomic activities affect ordinary people. She holds a journalism honours degree from Wits University. 

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