SOUTH AFRICA - Pretoria 21/01/2019 . Gill Marcus, Justice Lex Mpati and Emmanuel Lediga at the Commission of Inquiry into PIC. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency/ANA

PRETORIA – The head of private equity and structured investment products at the Public Investment Corporation, Mervin Muller, decried the lack of transparency and retrospective interference by the shareholder in staff incentives.

Muller, when making his submissions to the PIC Commission of Inquiry, said this created a risk for the most important resource of the PIC, its staff, to be diluted over time and the current highly skilled staff complement to be lost to the market.

“The lack of transparency created a perception, rightly or wrongly, that favouritism was rife in the application of these principles. In my department, it created massive gaps between peers and I was not in a position as the head of department to explain the reasons to them,” he said.

Muller said it seemed only a select few were allowed involvement in the determination of staff gradings, this included the head of human resources Christopher Pholwane and the chief financial officer, now acting chief executive, Matshepo More.

“I raised a concern on how I cannot be involved in analysing my own staff prior to approval of these new grades, but confidentiality of the information was always used as an excuse,” he said.

Muller also told the Commission that he planned to leave the employment of the PIC as he intended to move to the UK to seek different opportunities and obtain other skills. “I had already spent nine years at the PIC and felt it was time to move on.” 

He said received my performance score for the year to March which was pretty good and meant he would receive a bonus of R1 850 000, according to the annual financial statements. “This was definitely worth waiting for and accepting some discomfort of flying up and down from the UK for a month.”

Muller said: “I then for five months remained in this state of flux, expectation and promise, and you can imagine how this started to influence my family life. I had to fly up and down constantly and in hindsight, the amount paid in the end was not even worth the effort.”

He said they were ultimately paid in December, but the amounts had basically halved.

Muller said the Minister’s reluctance to deal with the matter expediently has had unintended significant consequences in his personal life and was of the view that other people could find themselves in similar positions if this trend continued.