South Africa - Pretoria - 5 March 2019 - Luyanda Ntuane, the former executive head of information technology at the PIC, at the PIC Commission of Enquiry. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

PRETORIA – The former chief technology officer at the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), Luyanda Ntuane, on Tuesday, called on the PIC Commission of Inquiry to probe the salary structure and reviews within Africa’s largest asset manager.

Ntuane, when making his submission to the Commission, claimed that some staff had their salaries increased by more than a million rand in a period of less than five years simply because they were seen to be toeing the line. 

“However, the PIC does have a number of highly qualified individuals who largely find themselves caught up in this … So staff did turn a blind eye though they could easily see what was going on. This went as far as situations where some staff members ended up earning more than their managers,” he said.

Ntuane also submitted to the commission how staff that did not toe the line would be victimised by the PIC director and chief financial officer (CFO) Mathsepo More, and not even staff from the legal department were spared. “The former chief executive (Dr Dan Matjila) and former chief risk officer (Dr Zulu Xaba) were notable victims of victimisation within the PIC.”

More was appointed acting PIC chief executive after Matjila’s departure in 2018.

Ntuane said in December 2014 Dr Dan Mtjila was appointed as the new chief executive and thereafter a swift process of restructuring of the executive committee and the organisation took place. 

“During this restructuring, I was appointed as the executive head of IT, with no changes to responsibilities, however, my reporting line was changed from the chief executive to the CFO.

“I submit that when my reporting lines changed to reporting to the CFO, my work life started to take strain due to ongoing and unresolved conflict between the CFO and myself. This became common knowledge within the organisation,” he said. 

“The CFO made it difficult to meet with her for one-on-one meetings that were aimed at the alignment of performance objectives, and general manager-subordinate discussions. 

“Business cases for IT projects and other IT submissions took a long time to get approval. In some cases, the CFO would simply direct me to go and discuss things with the chief executive. 

“l could not place counter-offers for critical staff that had successfully explored better paying opportunities outside of the PIC. I also could not get the IT structure finalised and approved for a very long period of time. No specific issues were raised as to why it was not approved, and this proved to be both frustrating and disempowering to both me and the IT department at large,” Ntuane submitted. 

He claimed that there were persistent negative comments that were made about IT by More, both in meetings and outside of those meetings and these negative sentiments extended into the inconsistent BSC process and bonus allocations, which were largely led by More. 

Ntuane said during his tenure at the PIC, he witnessed a number of incidents where salaries were adjusted for a “select group of individuals”, based on what More had to say. 

“Of course this was done in such a way that ‘adherence to process’ was facilitated through collusive behaviour with some of the executive heads. 

“I witnessed the CFO passing judgement about the performance of staff members, without even knowing their day-to-day operational responsibilities. This judgement was either negative or positive, based on whether the CFO liked the employee(s) concerned. 

Ntuane emphasised that all recommendations he made with regard to system upgrades and integration thereof – and captured within the approved IT strategy – were not supported, but rather met with deflection as far as possible.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE