The allegation that Public Investment Corporation (PIC) boss Dan Matjila funded a “girlfriend”, which forms part of a concerted campaign to oust him, is set to be cleared by a report from a probe into the matter.
On July 25 then minister of Finance Nhlanhla Nene requested the board of the PIC to commission a forensic investigation into allegations that had been made against Matjila.
Nene requested the report as a matter of urgency and asked for the final report to be submitted by September 30. Following this, the board appointed advocate Geoff Budlender SC to lead the forensic investigation.
The PIC, which manages almost R2 trillion in government pension and other funds, is the biggest asset manager in Africa.
A source close to the process disclosed to Independent Media on Tuesday that it is expected that Matjila will be cleared by the Budlender inquiry of all allegations about a relationship between him and the owner of Maison Holdings (MST), Pretty Louw.
“There is no evidence that Matjila and Ms Louw have or had a romantic relationship,” he said.
This detail of the report is expected to be presented to the board of the PIC before the end of the week.
Newly appointed Finance Minister Tito Mboweni on Tuesday said he had received a preliminary report on the PIC, suggesting this would hasten the start date of an inquiry announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in August.
“A preliminary report on the PIC was given to me by the deputy minister on Tuesday and that report does give some indication of what needs to be done,” Mboweni told Parliament’s standing committee on finance.
Deputy Finance Minister Mondli Gungubele, who chairs the PIC, confirmed on Tuesday that the report had been drafted by advocate Budlender.
According to our source, the report will reveal that there is also “no evidence, irregularity or impropriety whereby the PIC made a loan of R21million to MST, and made a Corporate Social Investment contribution of R5m to MST.
“According to my information all of the documents submitted by the CEO and CFO as evidence of the loan to MST were valid; the loan of R21m was provided to MST and not Maison Holdings; the allocation of R5m to MST as Corporate Social Investment was in line with the PIC’s CSI strategy which had been approved by the board in November 2016.”
Matjila denied publicly that he had a relationship with Louw, even in Parliament when questioned by members of Parliament’s finance committee. He then stated that “Louw and her partner had approached the PIC for financing and the PIC’s investment structures had approached the application like all others. It did not make the cut.
"Matjila said that when it was possible for the PIC to refer applicants to somewhere else that could help, it did so - and had done so in this case,” a media house reported.
Louw also denied allegations that she received money from or had a romantic relationship with Matjila.
Committee chairperson Yunus Carrim pointed out at the time that it was an offence to lie to Parliament and that Matjila’s denial had been expressed adamantly.
He called on the media to stop propagating the allegations of Matjila’s relationship with Louw.
The development came as Tiso Black Star-owned Business Day writer-at-large Carol Paton on Tuesday wrote an opinion piece “Matjila’s days at PIC are numbered as anti-corruption drive heats up”. She said it was becoming less likely by the day that Matjila would survive.
According to Independent Media’s source, “the involvement of Ms Louw with the PIC was brought about by a former minister who called Dr Matjila to a meeting at the airport without disclosing the reason for the meeting, when in fact the reason was to introduce Dr Matjila to Ms Louw and her partner, Ms Dlamini, and to request Dr Matjila to assist them to obtain funding from the PIC for their business.
“The report will reveal the truth about Matjila” he said.