Deputy Minister of Finance Mondli Gungubele testifying at PIC Commission of Inquiry. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

PRETORIA – The Public Servants Association (PSA) has called for immediate steps to be taken against Deputy Minister of Finance, Mondli Gungubele, following revelations at the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) Commission of Inquiry into impropriety that confirm that he misled the Commission in his testimony.

Gungubele previously testified that he had not been put under pressure to resign. This was contradicted by another testimony where it was revealed that Gungubele had received a phone call from Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, during a board meeting, instructing him and the PIC board to resign or be fired.

PSA general manager Ivan Fredericks said: “Immediate steps need to be taken to discipline Mr Gungubele. He can clearly not be trusted in his position and he has furthermore contributed to the current state of disarray of the PIC. This is again underlining the PSA’s stance that the chairperson of the PIC should not be appointed for political reasons to support personal gain, but the appointment should be based on integrity and expertise.” 

The PSA indicated that lying under oath was regarded as a serious offence. “The PSA calls on the President to take decisive steps and relief Gungubele of his duties as Deputy Minister of Finance with immediate effect,” said Fredericks.

In her testimony last week, PIC board member Dudu Hlatshwayo said Gungubele received a call from Mboweni, who told them to resign immediately or face being fired, effectively nullifying Gungubele’s submission where he misrepresented the facts claiming that the board was not fired and not put under pressure to leave.

“Ms Zulu came up with the wonderful idea of resigning en masse. She quickly and flawlessly dictated the letter of resignation to the company secretary and after having been proof-read by everyone, the letter was signed by all directors. On Monday, February 4, Minister Mboweni had not responded to the directors nor appointed the new board,” said Hlatshwayo.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s reaction to force the board to resign came in the wake of allegations levelled by a whistle-blower, under the pseudonym “James Noko”, accused Gungubele of colluding with fellow board member Sibusisiwe Zulu.

Phaphano Phasha, a political analyst and director of the Anti-poverty Forum which is following the developments of the PIC Commission very closely said: “From where I’m standing, there has been a lot of political interference beyond what we are told. The board of the PIC is under a lot of pressure which comes from a question from patronage.

“Gungubele wants to entrench himself and use the PIC for his own benefit. The commission needs to analyse and assess if the evidence he has given is credible.

Hlatshwayo told the commission’s chairperson, former Supreme Court Justice Lex Mpati, that when Gungubele took over as PIC chairperson he allegedly embarked on a reign of terror, undermining and alienating half the PIC board to ensure the ousting of former chief executive Dan Matjila, even when he was cleared by the Budlender report.

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