Former PIC chief decries damage done to black professionals

The former chief executive of the Public Investment Corporation, Dr Dan Matjila, Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

The former chief executive of the Public Investment Corporation, Dr Dan Matjila, Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Mar 11, 2022


DURBAN - The former chief executive of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), Dr Dan Matjila, has lamented the reputational damage black professionals and black-owned businesses have suffered as a result of the findings of commissions that lacked substantial evidence.

In response to Judge Willem Heath's Review Report of the proceedings and findings of the Mpati Commission of Inquiry into impropriety at the PIC, Matjila said he was relieved that no evidence was found to substantiate the allegations put forward by the commission, that he had a close relationship with the chairman of the Sekunjalo Group, Dr Iqbal Survé.

“The findings of the Heath Report buttress our affidavit that we filed in December 2020 in our application to challenge the Mpati report. A lot of black businesses and black professionals’ reputations have been damaged by the findings and recommendations that are not supported by credible evidence of those commissions,” he said.

Matjila indicated that his legal team was still in the process of submitting a supplementary affidavit in support of his application, challenging the Mpati Commission, which among other findings, concluded that the board of Africa’s largest asset manager was “a rubber stamp for the decisions driven by Matjila”.

The Mpati commission had also made findings characterising Matjila as dishonest, evasive, obstructive and, as not being a fit and proper person, as understood in various financial sector regulations.

However, the Mpati findings are now back in the spotlight after Heath found it was not reasonable to conclude that there was a suspicious relationship between Survé and Matjila, and that Matjila may have “unduly influenced any of the transactions the Group and/ or any of its associated entities”.

In 2020, Matjila lodged a court application in the North Gauteng High Court for a review of the findings of the PIC Commission, led by Justice Lex Mpati.

The application sought to remove, expunge and/or delete those remarks, conclusions, findings, and/or recommendations from the commission’s report.

In the court application, he said: “Since the [Mpati] report was made public I, together with my family, have suffered great prejudice and public torment and harassment as a result of them [the report’s findings,” he said.

“I have, as a result, been continuously subjected to unfair and extremely negative media coverage in public platforms (both local and abroad), and my reputation has been all but destroyed.”

His lawyers argued that there was no basis for those conclusions and that the allegations against Matjila were untested, as none of the allegations were put to him for his comments.

They also argued that he was called to assist the commission, which he did voluntarily, at his own costs only to be ambushed in the report.

In his review of the report, Heath recommended that Sekunjalo and Dr Survé immediately institute damages claims for reputational and other losses suffered as a result of the illegality and misrepresentation of Sekunjalo Group’s actions in the Mpati Commission’s report.

In response to the report, Survé said that he had always maintained that Matjila was a man of integrity.