Dan Matjila. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Dan Matjila. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

Public Investment Corporation (PIC) CEO Dan Matjila and his executives came out fighting on Tuesday against allegations of impropriety and bad investment decisions by the corporation.

Matjila and his team were grilled by members of Parliament’s finance committee.

Arguing that the PIC had performed well and exceeded clients’ expectations, Matjila revealed that in the year ended March 2018, the PIC’s assets under management grew by 8.6% (R165bn) to R2.084-trillion, mainly due to the good performance in listed equities.

“We have outperformed benchmarks and continue to outperform [them] ,” Matjila said.

The PIC’s local unlisted portfolio amounted to R69.4bn at end-March 2018, local listed bonds to R692bn, local listed equities to R965bn, cash and money market investments to R110bn, local property R108bn, Africa (outside SA) R25.4bn and global investments R115bn.

Of the total portfolio, 70% was in listed shares, 20% in unlisted investments and 10% in nondomestic investments.

Matjila said the PIC was a lean and mean organisation that would pay a dividend to the government. He acknowledged that some work needed to be done on risk management, but this was being “tackled aggressively”, with improvements being made to information technology infrastructure.

The PIC had more than 300 securities in its portfolio that were generating good returns, Matjila said, so it was “a little bit unfair” for the media to pick out a few transactions. Controversial ones included Ayo Technology Solutions, Erin Energy, VBS Mutual Bank, Steinhoff, Independent News and Media SA (Inmsa) and Mobilised Specialised Technologies (MST). Matjila told MPs the PIC was working on an exit strategy from Inmsa but would not answer questions about this due to market sensitivity.

He emphatically rejected allegations on Tuesday that he had a personal relationship with alleged “girlfriend” Pretty Louw. Allegations were that Matjila facilitated a financial transaction by a third party for Louw after her application to the PIC for financial assistance failed to meet its investment criteria.

“I have no relation with Ms Louw,” Matjila said. He said Louw and her partner approached the PIC for financing and their application did not make the cut. Matjila said where possible the PIC referred applicants elsewhere, but this was not the case in this instance.

Louw has also denied allegations that she received money from or had had romantic relations with Matjila.

PIC deputy chairman Xolani Mkhwanazi told MPs that nothing new had come to the fore to justify the PIC board reopening its examination of allegations against Matjila.

For the board to revisit the matter, it would have to be presented with something different or new, or be shown there was something ill-considered. This had not happened.

With regard to the controversial investments, Mkhwanazi said the board had revisited these and found nothing untoward about them. Delegations, ratification processes, due diligence, risk management and legal processes were examined.

ensorl@businesslive.co.za

 

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