Retail company Steinhoff in which the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) lost R24 billion last year is expected to come under the spotlight when Dan Matjila resumes his testimony at the Mpati Commission next week.
The former PIC chief executive is expected to shed further light on transactions between the government asset manager and several companies including Steinhoff, Lancaster, S&S Refinery and Ascendis.
The Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) will also make an appearance at the commission, which is probing allegations of impropriety at the PIC. GEPF is the largest client of the PIC, which manages trillions of rand’s worth of assets.
Matjila, who also had a stint as the PIC’s chief investment officer, yesterday detailed how the transaction with independent energy company Tosaco had unfolded in 2015. His testimony on Tosaco followed days of shocking revelations about how the PIC had been captured, and how politicians and some senior government officials sought to influence its operations and investment strategies.
Matjila told the commission that concerns had been raised about the transaction, particularly over the involvement of businessman Lawrence Mulaudzi, who was a beneficiary in the 2015 deal. Matjila said he had met Mulaudzi in May that year when the businessman informed him about an investment opportunity.
Matjila said that after the meeting he forwarded information on Tosaco to the head of impact, Roy Rajdhar, for review. “The deal was funded by a GEPF loan for the acquisition of Tosaco,” he said, adding that an Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) loan had also been secured as the deal had big potential to create jobs.
However, Matjila highlighted that discrepancies had been flagged when it emerged that newly formed company Kilimanjaro Capital (KiliCap), of which Mulaudzi was the director, was pushed through the PIC investment processes so that it reached phase two of the Tosaco bidding process despite not having an extensive trading history.
The former PIC boss said Mulaudzi at one stage hounded him for a binding letter of support in the transaction, but he said he refused to provide him with one. Matjila denied suggestions made by Mulaudzi, in his testimony, that he had been allegedly forced to merge KiliCap with another company, Sakhumnotho, run by businessman Sipho Mseleku.
However, he confirmed that Mulaudzi and Mseleku had met him in July 2016 to discuss how to merge their companies. “The merger greatly increased the newly formed company’s prospects of success in being awarded the tender, and that is why Mulaudzi agreed to the merger,” said Matjila.
After the merger, a new company by the name of Kisaco emerged and the transaction fee for the deal is alleged to have cost R100 million. The PIC was in good shape and had been given a clean bill of health while he was at the helm and before he left, Matjila maintained.
He said the asset management company had outperformed the benchmarks set by its clients.