PIC CEO laughs off allegations of misusing funds
The Public Investment Corporation’s Dan Matjila says the accusations are ‘spurious’ and the chairperson confirms there are no plans to remove him
Public Investment Corporation (PIC) CEO Dan Matjila has rejected an allegation that he misused funds as "spurious" ahead of a board meeting on Friday that could decide his future at the helm of Africa’s biggest money manager.
The Star newspaper reported on Thursday that Matjila has been told by PIC deputy chairperson, Xolani Mkhwanazi, to respond to an accusation that he used PIC funds to finance a personal project related to someone he is allegedly in a relationship with.
Matjila cut short a trip to the US to attend Friday’s meeting, he said by phone. The PIC, which handles pension funds for South African state workers, has almost R1.9-trillion in assets.
The accusation against Matjila originates from a website said to be connected to the Gupta family, who are friends with President Jacob Zuma and the subject of allegations that they have used the relationship to influence Cabinet appointments and state-contract awards. They want Matjila replaced with Brian Molefe, former CEO of Eskom, the newspaper reported, citing people at the National Treasury that it didn’t identify.
Molefe is also a former head of the PIC and worked as director-general at the Treasury. He is currently challenging Eskom legally after the utility was ordered not to give him a pension pay-out by Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown. Zuma had considered him as a potential finance minister.
"There are no preconceived plans whatsoever to remove" Matjila, deputy finance minister Sfiso Buthelezi, who is chairperson of the PIC, said in an e-mailed statement. "These allegations are unfounded, baseless and are causing unnecessary panic over an internal matter at the PIC. The PIC board has, indeed, called for a meeting on Friday with the CEO, but this is to discuss and get clarification from him on internal matters."
Matjila, a former maths professor, has led the PIC since December 2014.