Adri Senekal de wet the Executive Editor at Independent Media Business Report.
CAPE TOWN - Matjila 3 - Guptas 0

This Summarises the last few weeks’ round of fights in the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) vs Gupta’s battle in Pretoria. Dr Daniel Matjila, chief executive of the PIC, faced three rounds of fierce attempts to remove him as the guardian of South African pensioners' futures.

Business Report recently reported: “The African continent and South Africa, in particular, are fortunate to have a visionary leader of the calibre of globally awarded and recognised Dr Daniel Matjila, the chief executive of the PIC. Under his astute stewardship assets under management grew from R598billion in 2006 to R1.9trillion, representing almost 50percent of South Africa’s gross domestic product; the PIC has become the largest asset manager on the African continent, with investments in local and foreign bonds, local and foreign equities, cash and money markets, developmental investments and private equity. The PIC owns almost 13percent of the JSE market capitalisation and 24percent of the bond market capitalisation.”

Yes, Matjila survived round three. But, if you read between the lines of the media statement issued late on Friday night, it seems as if round four might be the knock-out of Matjila.

The question I ask, as editor of Business Report, and on behalf of concerned South Africans, is: what is the role of the Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba, in this debacle? Should we not ask who is for and against Matjila, and why?

I would like to believe that Gigaba and Deputy Finance Minister, Sfiso Buthelezi, will have the best interest of South Africa at heart. But I have to ask how Gigaba can allow a situation such as this to get to a stage where it is right now, where one of South Africa’s leading and globally awarded investment managers, be questioned week after week, about matters ranging from investing in a company headed by an alleged girlfriend to his reaction on questions by a weekend publication about the mission and vision of the PIC?

The irony is that Matjila stood up, as a proud citizen, fought back and won three rounds, with the support of the majority of the board, yet, according to informed sources, the “knock-out shot to remove Dan is reality”. Why? Who is really behind the attack on the integrity of Matjila?

The Gupta game plan reads like poetry. Following Eskom, Transnet and other state-owned enterprises, the appointment and removal of chief executives, based on “allegations” followed by an investigation are truly laughable.

Will South Africa allow Matjila to be removed and replaced by a Gupta-linked man? If this happens, Gigaba will lose the confidence he has earned since being appointed as minister of finance in the middle of the night, not so long ago.

I would like to post to Gigaba: “Do you say what you mean, and do you mean what you say”?

Adri Senekal de Wet is the executive editor of Business Report.

- BUSINESS REPORT