Former Public Investment Corporation (PIC) CEO, Dr. Dan Matjila, entered his third day of testimony at the Commission of Inquiry into alleged impropriety at the PIC, by stating how he had to put out fires around allegations contained in an email sent by whistle-blower James Nogu.
This included claims that he had used corporate social investment (CSI) funds belonging to the PIC, to fund his alleged girlfriend, Pretty Louw, being persuaded to force a senior manager at the PIC to resign and, attempts to exclude him from a meeting held for directors.
In his testimony, Matjila highlighted it all began when he had been contacted by two reporters appraising him of stories they were running on claims that he had allegedly bankrolled Louw.
At a meeting held with one of the reporters, he said he was shown a PIC memo motivating for a loan of R38 million while, at another meeting, the same allegations were repeated.
He added that after he gave details on the matter, the stories were never published.
He indicated that he later received a call from Deputy Finance Minister Sifiso Buthelezi (at the time), informing him to respond to them accordingly and meet with the deputy chairperson of the PIC, Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi, who said the allegations were worrying: "I was surprised that after the meeting he left through the back doors, as he did not want to be seen by employees attending the strategic breakaway."
Matjila also said, prior to traveling to the United States in September 2017, he met with Mkhwanazi and Buthelezi at a lounge at OR Tambo airport.
"The chairman's first words to me were, Chief, can you come clean on this girlfriend story," adding he was taken aback by the inference, but I informed him there was no truth to the rumour/allegation.
It is at that meeting, he said, that Buthelezi also castigated him about the matter of the National Empowerment Fund’s (NEF’s) application for R3 billion funding from the PIC.
He said Buthelezi, whose sister was a CEO at the NEF, was angry, allegedly telling him to "leave politics to the politics."
He added: "I explained to him (Buthelezi) that I had not raised this issue but that the PIC investment team was considering the deal and it had nothing to do with politics at all."
His testimony continues.