UDM leader General Bantu Holomisa laid bare a series of major PIC transactions in a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa. Photo: Masi Losi/African News Agency (ANA)
JOHANNESBURG -  UDM leader Bantu Holomisa criticised the current model of having a political head for Public Investment Corporation, saying it had placed the state-owned asset manager in danger of looting.

On Wednesday, Holomisa took the stand before the PIC commission of inquiry – chaired by Justice Lex Mpati – which is tasked with looking at allegations of improprieties within the entity.

He told the commission that the current model of having a deputy minister of finance as the automatic chairperson of the PIC needed to be reviewed to ensure checks and balances.

Holomisa had been entangled in a legal battle with the PIC in a bid to have had the erswhile chief executive Dan Matjila fired over allegations of corruption and questionable transactions which he said he received through anonymous tip-offs.

One of the tip-offs included an October 2017 letter written by Adekeye Attorneys on behalf of Zonkizizwe Investments – which is owned by the ANC – to one AfricOil and demanding an outstanding R1.4 million for introducing the company to the PIC.

“Given the meetings between Zonkizizwe and the PIC leadership, one can no longer have confidence in this institution. The ruling party has, for instance, investment companies such as Thebe Investments, which is an asset manager, and this would raise eyebrows if they were also getting PIC business,” Holomisa said.

He said there seemed to be a definite relationship between the PIC’s former directors and employees and other companies which were enjoying benefits of PIC funds.

Those alleged to be enjoying proximity to the PIC’s coffers include former deputy finance minister Jabu Moleketi and former PIC head of corporate investment Tshepo Mahloele.

“There also seems to be a select network of individuals who have access to the PIC’s resources which needs to be untangled and revealed. It would be advisable for the commission to be proactive and investigate the unlisted transactions effected by the PIC,” Holomisa said.

The unlisted transactions are funds which were below the R2 billion threshold and which did not need to obtain the permission of the PIC’s full board to go ahead.

“It will behove the commission to demand a printout of all these unlisted transactions for the period under review, in order to satisfy itself that these transactions were above board,” he said.