PIC did not invest in Nene Jr’s business, Matjila says



The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) did not fund the business of Siyabonga Nene, the son of former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene, according to the state asset manager’s former chief executive, Dan Matjila.

Siyabonga Nene and his business partner Ameer Mizra approached the PIC in 2014 requesting $29.25-million for a 50% black employment equity (BEE) stake in a Mozambican palm oil refinery, S&S Refinery.

READ MORE: The finance minister, his son and the Mozambican refinery

Matjila says that he knew of Nene’s son as they were first introduced when the former finance minister was the chairman of the PIC. Matjila says that Nene requested that he coach Siyabonga on business and investments — a request that Matjila agreed to saying that the practice “was very common in the private sector”.

“For me I saw it as knowledge sharing and coaching. This is something I am passionate about,” Matjila said.

On Tuesday, he told the commission probing, among others, governance failures at the PIC that the PIC merely paid facilitation fees to Siyabonga Nene and Mizra for the deal as this was “common and standard practice to do in the investment industry”.

The former CEO said that the PIC did not fund the deal because the company does not fund BEE transactions outside of South Africa, adding that Siyabonga and Mizra’s shareholding in the oil refinery was to be vendor financed by the sponsor of the transaction and not by the PIC.

The refinery was owned by a Mozambican businessperson, Rassul Mohamed.

The PIC eventually invested $63-million in debt and equity between 2014 and 2016 into the deal. The debt is currently not being serviced. Matjila washed his hands of the losses that the PIC made in the deal, blaming poor governance and the collapse of the Mozambican metical against the US dollar, for the losses.

Matjila testified that the PIC had paid facilitation fees to Mizra’s newly formed company, Zaid International Trade, which had registered a bank account in the United Arab Emirates.

When asked by evidence leader advocate Jannie Lubbe whether or not it was necessary for a new company to be formed before the PIC paid the facilitation fees, Matjila responded, “I don’t know.”

“Could it be perhaps because of the relationship between (Nene) Junior and (Nene) Senior?” asked Lubbe.

“I don’t know,” Matjila responded.

Matjila however denied that the former finance minister’s Nene position as chairperson of the PIC at the time of the deal had any influence on the decision made by the PIC to invest in S&S.

READ MORE: Did Nene Jr deal with the Guptas?

“Mr Nene was neither a member of the Investment Committee nor any of its subcommittees. He would not have been able to influence a committee decision,”he says. 

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Thando Maeko
Thando Maeko is an Adamela Trust business reporter at the Mail & Guardian

Related stories

Ayo report: CFO acted in the PIC’s interests

A disciplinary inquiry has cleared Matshepo More of all charges, but she remains suspended

PIC commission – Matjila acted improperly in Ayo deal

The report by the commission that investigated the Public Investment Corporation says the fund manager’s former CEO lied about his involvement in its R4,3-billion investment in Iqbal Surve’s Ayo Technology

Dan Matjila’s grand plans to save Eskom

The former PIC chief muses over PIC debt-for-equity, privatisation and selling off power stations

​Eskom will be fixed, service delivery improved, Ramaphosa promises at ANC 108

ANC president says only his party can improve lives, as Northern Cape residents lament their struggles in South Africa’s sparsest province

Polluting power plant faces closure

The environment department has lost patience with Eskom’s defiance of air pollution regulations

ANC 108 lays bare Cyril’s failure

President Ramaphosa is in a disastrous position for someone elected the way he was and with enemies circling

Subscribers only

SAA bailout raises more questions

As the government continues to grapple with the troubles facing the airline, it would do well to keep on eye on the impending Denel implosion

ANC’s rogue deployees revealed

Despite 6 300 ANC cadres working in government, the party’s integrity committee has done little to deal with its accused members

More top stories

Finance probe into the Ingonyama Trust Board goes ahead

The threat of legal action from ITB chairperson Jerome Ngwenya fails to halt forensic audit ordered by the land reform minister

Ailing Far East Rand hospital purchases ‘vanity’ furniture

Dr Zacharia Mathaba, who purchased the furniture, is a suspected overtime fraudster and was appointed as Gauteng hospital chief executive despite facing serious disciplinary charges

Eusebius McKaiser: Reject the dichotomy of political horrors

Senekal shows us that we must make a stand against the loud voice of the populist EFF and racist rightwingers

Seals abort pups in mass die-off

There are a number of factors — a pollutant, virus or bacteria or malnutrition — may have caused the 12 000 deaths on Namibia’s coast

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday