This was according to Dr Dan Matjila, the former chief executive of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) who was testifying at the Mpati-led commission of inquiry into impropriety at Africa’s largest asset manager.
Answering questions before the commission, Matjila relayed how although there were no problems found in the management structures of the big four media houses in SA, the lack of government ad spend that was reserved for the Guptas killed the right kind of cash flow to drive the digital strategy of the print media industry.
“The aim was to transform Independent Media into a black-owned and transformed company so that they can get government business. However, the new one got formed and all business was taken away. Our view was that Independent Media would get government business because it was the most transformed media company in SA at the time. It was about getting a black player that was transformed in the media to make a difference in the economy,” said Matjila.
Explaining the PIC’s rationale in investing in Independent Media, Matjila said: “Today we may look like we would have known that things weren’t going to work out, but based on probabilities and value proposition, based on the digital strategy at the time, to mitigate, we bought into that strategy which the board approved on that basis. What’s important is that we are taking transactions to committees to approve, I don’t decide to do the transaction on my own, the committee takes the responsibility because it’s a decision of the board.”