PIC inquiry exposes Iqbal Survé’s ‘false claims’, says DA, while calling for prosecution

The party has also called for legal consequences for the investment manager's former CEO, Dr Dan Matjila.

The DA on Thursday evening welcomed the Mpati commission’s report recommending that the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) instigate a full-scale review of all existing deals between the entity and Sekunjalo Investment Holdings in order to recoup any money that was invested in Sekunjalo companies.

The party also supported a recommendation that the report be forwarded to the National Prosecuting Authority and that all relevant authorities take necessary steps.

The inquiry had been chaired by Justice Lex Mpati and was concluded last year. The PIC manages more than R2.2 trillion in state assets, and its biggest client is the Government Employee Pension Fund.

DA MP Alf Lees expressed satisfaction that the report had exposed the “false claims” by Sekunjalo that they had been cleared by the Mpati commission.

“Both Iqbal Survé and Dan Matjila [former PIC CEO] must be held accountable for their alleged wrongdoing.

“The long-overdue release of the Mpati Commission Report today paints a scathing picture of the unholy alliance between Survé’s Sekunjalo Holdings and the former PIC CEO, Dan Matjila.”

Lees further pointed out that the report made the following damning findings:

  • The Sekunjalo Group investments showed a marked disregard for PIC policy and standard operating procedures;
  • That the PIC failed to make sound investment decisions;
  • Proper governance was absent or poor, and risk identification processes were downplayed by looking for risk mitigants to make sure the deals were approved;
  • The “close relationship” between Matjila and Survé created top-down pressures that the deal teams experienced to get the requisite approvals.

“It is shocking that the entity in charge of the investments of the hard-earned livelihoods of servants, pensioners and beneficiaries became so utterly compromised to the point where a private company meddled in the institution’s investment decisions.”

The presidency released the nearly 1000-page report of the judicial commission of inquiry into the PIC on Thursday.

Among other things, the board was found to have been “divided and conflicted”, and was criticised for effectively just “rubber-stamping” Matjila’s decisions instead of providing true corporate oversight.

Recommendations against former acting CEO Matshepo More and former head of human resources Chris Pholwane were also made, calling for them to be disciplined for their conduct.

The board “repeatedly abdicated its responsibilities in deference to delegations of authority, even in instances where it expressed concern about a particular investment” reads the report, which slammed Matjila for “dishonesty” and “material non-disclosure”.

Several witnesses implicated Matjila as having played a central role in approving questionable investment deals by the PIC.

When he resigned in November 2018, Matjila was the subject of an internal investigation into allegations that business and kickbacks were inappropriately ring-fenced around some of his associates.

Matjila alleged that he was removed from his job so that politically connected people could influence the fund’s investment decisions, and that he was pressured to make deals that didn’t fit with the PIC’s strategies.

The inquiry was appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa in October 2018 to probe whether there were any alleged impropriety and corrupt activities, among others, regarding investment decisions by the PIC.

The inquiry heard evidence from more than 70 witnesses, some of whom were former and current PIC directors.

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