CAPE TOWN - Former deputy finance minister Jabu Moleketi has rejected claims by UDM leader Bantu Holomisa that the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) made special financial concessions to politically exposed individuals.
In an exclusive interview with Business Report, Moleketi, who is a non-executive director at Lebashe Investment Group, said Holomisa’s claims were highly defamatory and lacked merit.
“Lebashe strongly denies the numerous unfounded, highly inflammatory, defamatory and vexatious allegations contained in Holomisa’s letter,” Moleketi said.
This week Holomisa repeated his calls for the removal of PIC chief executive Dr Daniel Matjila.
A Struggle veteran in his own right, Moleketi was the PIC chairperson. He is a non-executive director of several companies in the financial services sector, which include DBSA, Aluwani Capital Partners and MMI Holdings.
He is also chairperson of Vodacom Group, a non-executive director of Remgro Group and chairperson of Harith General Partners, which invests in infrastructure projects on the African continent. Moleketi said Holomisa was wrong in many aspects of his so-called “explosive” letter, as it illustrated his lack of understanding of asset management.
“For instance, he confuses two entities, Lebashe and Harith, as one company with an opaque shareholding. Fact is, Lebashe and Harith are separate legal entities.”
Tshepo Mahloele is chief executive of Harith and Moleketi is chairperson of Harith. This information is publicly available for verification.
The companies he is accusing of illegality are well run and governed and do not “read like a spy novel with incomprehensible twists and turns”, as Holomisa alleges.
“We welcome the fight against corruption and are open to scrutiny at any time. We, however, request people to be fair and just and not to throw mud at us and hope that it will stick,” said Moleketi.
“The burden of proof lies with the one who is alleging and Mr Holomisa should therefore provide evidence of his allegations. “Just because we are a black-managed and -owned business, there is an insinuation that we have done something wrong and we are corrupt,” said Mahloele in an interview with Moneyweb earlier this week.
Harith is a reputable fund manager with a proven track record and successful mega-infrastructure projects. It is accountable to its investors, who are spread across the continent. “We are being bullied to get out of investment opportunities,” Mahloele said.
“There are commercial and political interests at play. “It’s malicious and defamatory to accuse businessmen of corruption without evidence.”
The black business leaders are considering taking legal action by laying crimen injuria charges against Holomisa, as his “reckless” letter has caused “reputational and economic harm”.
Moneyweb reported: “The battle between business and politics has intensified after Holomisa penned a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday, accusing Mahloele and two other businessmen of peddling influence to secure millions in funding from PIC’s Matjila.
“There are a couple of questions here,” said Moneyweb.
“For one, can Matjila unilaterally approve investments of up to R2 billion? “Deon Botha, the PIC’s head of corporate affairs, strongly rejects this, saying its mandate and investment processes don’t allow for Matjila to be ‘vested with all the powers to unilaterally make investment decisions’. “ ‘ We wish to reiterate our stance that the PIC follows a rigorous investment process in all its dealings and investments,” Botha said.’ “