Pretoria – Public Investment Corporation (PIC) chief executive Dan Matjila on Tuesday rubbished a newspaper article which quoted him as saying there are powerful individuals who are targeting him as they seek access to the R1.9 trillion of pension money he manages on behalf of South African government's employees.
"I think the article that appeared in the Sunday Times is distasteful, inaccurate, and I think it is designed to drive a wedge between myself and the minister [Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba]. It is designed to drive a wedge between myself and my [PIC] board," Matjila said at a press briefing alongside Gigaba at National Treasury in Pretoria.
"I have formally complained to senior management at Times Media Group. We are weighing our legal options to try and deal with this matter properly. I must put it on record that I enjoy good support from the minister, the deputy minister and from the board of the PIC. I can assure our clients that the PIC is on solid ground, we are not disturbed by this."
The newspaper report alleged that Matjila had been hauled before the PIC board last week, to answer to allegations against him that were leaked. This, according to the article, was after he turned down a request from South African Airways (SAA) chairperson Dudu Myeni for a R6bn loan to keep the bankrupt national carrier from going under.
During the question and answer session, Matjila faced a barrage of questions regarding the newspaper article, which quoted him.
Matjila insisted that all questions regarding his supposed remarks will be addressed in a press statement on Wednesday.
"Let me ask for patience. We are going to issue a statement tomorrow. I am talking to the Times Media Group management to deal with this matter, so we will issue a statement tomorrow," said Matjila.
Earlier, Gigaba rubbished media reports which suggested that the South African National Treasury would use funds from the PIC to bail out the country’s failing state-owned enterprises.
“I want to assure every South African, every pension holder that their pensions are safe, that there is absolutely no attempt to dig into their pensions for reasons that are unscrupulous,” said Gigaba.
“I also want to dispel another untruth, that I said…we need R100 billion in order to fund ailing state-owned companies. There is absolutely no truth in that.”
Gigaba was addressing journalists following widespread reports suggesting that National Treasury was trying to force the PIC to commit to providing the R100 billion to bail out the numerous struggling state-owned enterprises (SoEs), including R12 billion for the embattled SAA.
The media briefing followed a meeting held by Gigaba, his deputy Sfiso Buthelezi – who also chairs PIC – and the board of the corporation which manages state workers’ pension funds.