Finance minister Tito Mboweni. Picture: REUTERS/SUMAYA HISHAM
Finance minister Tito Mboweni. Picture: REUTERS/SUMAYA HISHAM

The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) board of nonexecutive directors, who resigned en masse last week, will remain in place for now.

The board members said on Tuesday they are committed to remain until finance minister Tito Mboweni appoints a new board.

On Friday the entire PIC board of nonexecutive directors wrote to Mboweni and asked to be relieved of their duties.

This followed numerous controversies that included allegations of corruption against four of the directors, including deputy finance minister and chair Mondli Gungubele.

Mboweni accepted the board’s request.

Nine directors, excluding acting CEO Matshepo More, had signed the letter. 

By law the finance minister appoints the board of the asset manager that oversees about R2-trillion in the pensions of public servants and other statutory institutions, making the PIC the single largest investor in Africa and on the JSE.

The PIC is currently the subject of an inquiry, led by retired judge Lex Mpati, into the asset manager’s governance.

The inquiry has dealt with an e-mail by a purported whistle-blower that made a number of allegations about deals that have implicated Gungubele and board members Dudu Hlatshwayo and Sibusisiwe Zulu.

It also heard testimony from suspended PIC assistant portfolio manager Victor Seanie, who alleged a number of irregularities in the process leading up it subscribing for R4.3bn of shares in Ayo Technology Solutions. 

Ayo is majority owned by Sekunjalo Investments, in turn owned by Iqbal Survé, who is the executive chair of Independent Media and chair of the Sekunjalo Group.

Sunday Times reported that a secret recording revealed how Survé colluded to withhold key information from the PIC that led to it investing in Ayo, in which he had a significant stake.

The newspaper reported that Survé, in the recording, could be heard plotting with board members of Ayo.

In a joint statement by Ayo, African Equity Empowerment Investments, Sekunjalo and Survé, the parties said the recording was made by one of the former executives of Ayo and that it was made without permission.

However, they said they had nothing to hide.

“The meeting was an informal discussion between senior executives in charge of the various parties to this statement, and despite the recording having been made without their permission, the participants have nothing to hide based on the contents of what was said during this confidential meeting,” they said.