Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s comments that the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) was being viewed with “dangerous eyes” have reportedly angered Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba.
The Star reported on Thursday that Gigaba this week sent a letter to Deputy Finance Minister Sfiso Buthelezi, who is also the PIC’s chairperson, demanding that embattled PIC boss Dan Matjila and the entity’s board reveal its investments and the people it had funded.
According to the report, Gigaba wants details of all the PIC transactions both listed and unlisted investments. The move by the finance minister is believed to be a fresh bid to oust Matjila from heading Africa’s biggest pension fund manager.
The paper reported Buthelezi and Xolani Mkhwanazi, the PIC’s deputy chairperson, are understood to have pushed for an internal audit to be conducted into claims that Matjila contravened the PIC’s rules by allegedly funding a romantic partner’s business for an amount of R21 million.
This was despite the majority of the board clearing the chief executive of the allegations after an internal audit.
In his letter, Gigaba wants the PIC board to appoint a reputable independent forensic company to audit “outstanding matters not done by the internal audit, as they [the internal auditors] do not have the capacity to audit additional matters, as per my request”.
Sources close to the proceedings claimed to the paper Gigaba wanted to know what to pin on Matjila using investments and transactions the PIC has entered into over the past three years.
The sources also said Ramaphosa’s comments last week at a gathering of the SA Democratic Teachers Union – where he said the PIC was being viewed with “dangerous eyes” – had apparently enraged Gigaba, and the minister believed Ramaphosa was scoring political points ahead of the ANC’s December national conference.
National Treasury spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete rubbished claims that Gigaba’s letter was targeted at ousting the head of the PIC. He said people had nothing to fear from the probes if there was nothing to hide.
“It [the letter] is not interference. When you are accused of wrongdoing, it is best to open yourself up and be transparent … The board must share how deals are entered into. It must figure out a modus operandi for transparency – whether it is on a bi-annual basis, for example,” Tshwete said.