#PICInquiry: Dan Matjila tried to defend the PIC from state capture
Former Public Investment Corporation CEO Dr Dan Matjila on Tuesday told of how he and his colleagues worked hard to defend the PIC from State Capture during his 15-year tenure at the state-owned asset manager.
This ranges from the instability the PIC went through when Malusi Gigaba was at the helm as Finance Minister alongside his then deputy Sifiso Buthelezi.
An unrelenting Matjila who delved into the immense political pressure he was placed under, revealed among other things that in April 2017, Gigaba and Buthelezi and other treasury officials had visited the PIC for a briefing.
This, he said was to familiarise themselves with the operations of the PIC. He said Gigaba later indicated he was happy with the briefing session by the exco.
“Minister Gigaba later instructed me to withdraw the amended Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI) and to ensure that the old MOI remain in force…
It was clear that Minister Gigaba wanted to appoint his own deputy chairman of the PIC and thus the chairman of the IC.
The chairman of the IC Roshan Morar had already served two consecutive terms of three years and would be prevented for serving a third term if the old MOI was reinstated.
“Without putting too fine a point on the issue, I genuinely felt, as I still feel today, that the PIC was being captured. The agents of capture I believe were both internal and external.”
He said externally, the capture was driven by the new National Treasury leadership and internally by a faction of exco and non-executive directors saying that the catalyst of these divisions was James Noko.
Matjila also continued to give details of what had transpired saying he subsequently received a call from Minister Gigaba who wanted to know the process by which individuals could be appointed to the PIC board. After explaining the process to him, he instructed me to include Cvs of Dr. Xolani Mkhwanazi and of Ms. Mathukana Mokoka and a memo to him "in which I recommend their appointment to the board of the PIC. There were other names already in the memo. We just had to add the two."
Matjila said he was not sure which offices the CVs were sent from and he complied with the instruction.
Asked if he wanted to comply, Matjila answered: " I don’t think I had the choice. I had to comply and put them in the memo. The CVs were ok. Not strong on investments but other things and so we complied and put those things as requested."
He said he was concerned about this but didn't relay this to the board.
"I knew it was the beginning of a tough period for me. Indeed Mkhwanazi and Mokoka were appointed to the board. I knew he was coming with a huge pipeline of deals that he couldn’t and that he was well politically tied."
The deals, he said, came from elsewhere and not directly through the PIC.