Chairperson of the inquiry, former president of the Supreme Court of Appeal, Justice Lex Mpati,
JOHANNESBURG - Sakhumnotho founder and chief executive Sipho Mseleku yesterday vindicated former Public Investment Corporation (PIC) head Dr Dan Matjila, quashing Kilimanjaro Capital’s Lawrence Mulaudzi’s claim that Matjila was conflicted.

Mseleku told Judge Lex Mpati’s inquiry into the PIC that Matjila had a stern arm-length role in the coalition of Sakhumnotho and Kilimanjaro, which was eventually granted R1.7billion and an additional R100000 in funding.

Mseleku said Sakhumnotho followed up with Matjila on the potential sale of the 30percent stake in Total South Africa (Tosaco) by the current BEE shareholders in June 2015, about funding, and was sternly told that the PIC was not going to engage until the process had determined who the preferred bidders were.

He maintained that Sakhumnotho bid for the stake in the same way every other BEE company did through Nedbank Corporate Finance.

He described how, after he had attended a meeting with Matjila, he followed him to a conference room “out of curiosity” to see who the other bidder was.

He said Matjila, who was scheduled to meet with Mulaudzi, briefly introduced them and left the room.

“Mr Mulaudzi and I had a brief discussion and mutually agreed that there can only be one winner out of the process,” Mseleku said. “We then agreed to merge our consortium and split the share 50-50. The reason for us agreeing to merge our consortium was so that we can have a win-win situation and to increase both our chances of success.”

In March Mulaudzi claimed that Sakumnotho muscled into the deal at the insistence of Matjila to acquire a BEE stake in Total SA after the PIC had previously signed a “binding engagement letter” with Kilimanjaro which, in Mulaudzi’s view, implied exclusivity.

“Matjila told me Mseleku’s company must merge with our company to form one consortium and that we had to give Mr Mseleku 50percent of the transaction and the fees that we would ultimately receive when the deal is approved,” Mulaudzi said.

However, Mseleku said Malaudzi’s testimony that the two companies merged on the directive of Matjila prior to the granting of the financial package for the Tosaco transaction was incorrect.

“This was a mutual business decision by myself and Mr Mulaudzi, in order to increase the chances of both our entities succeeding in the bid for the Tosaco shares. It was a joint business decision that we took at the time without external influence.”

Mseleku, who could not give commissioners specific amounts of the PIC’s exposure to Sakumnotho’s varied entities, said that all funding advanced or jointly invested in by the PIC were all currently being serviced with dividend payments and loan tranches, save for a property venture which is subject to market whims.

BUSINESS REPORT