Dan Matjila, the former head of South Africa's state asset manager, the Public Investment Corporation, appears at an inquiry into alleged wrongdoing and poor investment decisions during his tenure
JOHANNESBURG -  On Wednesday, former Public Investment Corporation (PIC) head, Dr Dan Matjila, dismissed suggestions that the state-owned asset manager's involvement with Independent Media South Africa (INMSA), Sagarmatha and Ayo Technologies (AYO), was due to the fact that he had a close relationship with Sekunjalo Investment Holdings chairman, Dr Iqbal Survé.

A barrage of  media reports has alleged a questionable relationship between the two and Matjila stated that he wanted to set the record straight. 

He confirmed there was a continuous relationship with Survé but, that it was not due to friendship per se but, more to being closely involved with the transactions to assess them on a continuous basis.  

Matjila also added that because there was talk of restructuring the organisations involved, he deemed it fit to be on the front lines of the discussions to ensure decisions reached, were in the best interest of the PIC. Matjila also further highlighted that not having been part of the discussions, "would have been reckless."

The Commission of Inquiry into alleged wrongdoing at the PIC heard that while there had been hope for the PIC to consider a conversion of the investment in INMSA into Sagarmatha for listing purposes, this didn't materialise, as the organisation considered the R7.06 per share evaluation figure that had been offered, as too high.  

Matjila was also at pains to explain to the inquiry that the matter was closed after the decision was made and that he never went behind the PIC's back to ensure that the deal continued.

Asked by the commissioners if he had met with Dr  Survé alone to further discuss Sagarmatha's listing, Matjila told the Commission no such meeting was held in this regard.

"The first meeting occurred in Cape Town in the presences of senior management and others, and from there on there were email correspondence," he said, highlighting that all correspondence was forwarded to the PIC team involved.

Previously, Lebogang Molebatsi, general manager for listed equities at the PIC, has in his testimony, pointed out that he was pressurised while working on the Sagarmatha and Ayo Technology deals, submitting that Matjila had at one stage, compelled him to approve a form needed in the AYO deal.

But, Matjila poured cold water on these suggestions saying he didn't agree with the notion that he had forced the deal. He also emphasised that he had informed Sekunjalo that the deal fell through.

Meanwhile, taken to task earlier in his testimony over the knowledge he had shared with third party leaders, Matjila said he didn't see any problem at the time in sharing content, as this was the norm within the ecosystem they worked in.

BUSINESS REPORT