UDM president Bantu Holomisa. Picture: DAILY DISPATCH/MARK ANDREWS
UDM president Bantu Holomisa. Picture: DAILY DISPATCH/MARK ANDREWS

UDM leader General Bantu Holomisa has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to extend more time and resources to the commission of inquiry being chaired by judge Lex Mpati into governance at the Public Investment Corporation (PIC). 

It would be a pity and a waste of taxpayers’ money if the information you have been receiving from sources and witnesses that require further investigation cannot be completed because the government will not give you more time. You were appointed last year but only started work this year due to delays by the department of justice. So, the timeframes the president gave you are not suitable,” he told the commission on Wednesday.

Mpati is being assisted by former Reserve Bank governor Gill Marcus and investment banker Emmanuel Lediga. They are expected to deliver their final report to Ramaphosa by the middle of April.

Holomisa has been instrumental in lobbying for the commission after receiving an “anonymous tip-off that something untoward was happening with the management of the PIC” in January 2016.

The UDM went to court last year to request that Daniel Matjila, the previous CEO of the PIC, be suspended until an investigation into a number of controversial deals the PIC invested in, and which had been publicised, was concluded. Matjila resigned from the PIC in November last year.

Holomisa also wrote to Ramaphosa and deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo (who chairs the state-capture inquiry) to institute a separate inquiry to examine affairs at the PIC.

The president appeared to have agreed, appointing commissioners and establishing wide-ranging terms of reference in October last year —but the commission only began formal hearings in the middle of January.

In addition to his testimony, Holomisa supplied the commission with files of evidence that evidence leader, advocate Jannie Lubbe, petitioned to keep confidential until the forensic team had time to process them. Mpati granted the request.

It is for this reason that Holomisa wants the commission to be given more time and resources to do its job. “Don’t compromise yourselves, please,” he told the commissioner.  

Thabi Leoka, speaking on behalf of the commission, said in response to questions from Business Day, that it’s the president’s prerogative to extend the deadline, but it will continue working on the basis that the final report must be submitted by April 15.