JOHANNESBURG - Former Public Investment Corporation (PIC) chief executive Dan Matjila yesterday stuck to his guns that he did not force through the merger of Kilimanjaro Capital (KiliCap) and Sakhumnotho in order to buy Total SA (TASCO) shares, despite intense questioning by evidence leader Isaac Monnahela.
Matjila said though he denies allegations that he had strong-armed the two companies to join forces as a condition for the PIC to fund them, that their eventual measure was good for both the companies and the asset manager.
He said in the instance of KiliCap and Sakhumnotho a merged entity stood a better chance than two separate entities that have different weaknesses.
“I don’t think it’s a sin for us to expand BEE. We have done it before where we persuade companies to merge to broaden BEE base, so this is not unusual,” Matjila told the Judge Lex Mpati commission looking into the affairs of the PIC.
The companies were separately vying for the purchase of a 91.8 percent stake in Tosaco Energy, Total South Africa’s black economic empowerment partner. The consortium received R1.7 billion from the PIC for the stake.
Mulaudzi has told the commission that Matjila had forced KiliCap and Sakhumnoto to form a consortium.
The commissioners then probed on how it came about that Matjila had both Muladzi Sahumnoto’s Sipho Mseleku at the PIC at the same time and Mulaudzi following Matjila into a meeting with Mseleku where later on the two merged and formed a company that bought Shares in Total SA.
“They all wanted a binding letter of expression of interest at all costs. Mr Mseleku first came and I told him I will not issue the letter as I have others who would like a similar letter but in the process where there is still competition there is no exclusivity.”
Earlier on the day, the Government Employees Pension Fund's (GEPF) head Abel Sithole the commission even though he was aware that PIC had issued summons against Ayo Technology in an effort to recoup the R4.3 billion it invested in the technology group he was surprised that when he saw a copy of the summons that the GEPF was cited as a plaintiff.
Sithole also said that to date, there has not been any deliberate wrongdoing that would prompt the GEPF to act and take sanction against the PIC.
Meanwhile, the Alternative Information and Development Centre (AIDC) said it was unfortunate that the finance minister Tito Mboweni had went ahead and appointed an interim PIC board before the Commission had concluded its work.
The AIDC said current practice leaves great discretion on appointments in the hands of the Finance Minister.
“In light of this high level of discretion, it is imperative that the minister account for the reasons why each individual was appointed and how they will fulfill their roles in the public interest,” AIDC said.
“Part of this should include the disclosure of any material benefits that members of the PIC board of directors may receive as a direct result of them being on the PIC’s board.”