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Matshepo More. Picture: WARREN THOMPSON
Matshepo More. Picture: WARREN THOMPSON

As the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) begins its drive for a new CFO, Matshepo More, who previously held the position, is seeking reinstatement saying the asset manager failed to follow procedure when terminating her employment.

More has approached the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to compel the asset manager to reverse its decision to fire her. She is also seeking full compensation for the losses she has incurred since she was fired last October.

The PIC, which manages R2.2-trillion in government pension and social funds on behalf of the Government Employees Pension Fund, the Unemployment Insurance Fund and the Compensation Fund, is opposing the application.

 The PIC’s search for More’s replacement is part of its drive to overhaul governance in line with the Mpati commission’s recommendations to ensure effective governance. More is part of a list of former and current PIC executives who have undergone disciplinary hearings after being implicated by the commission’s report as having played a role in flouting the fund manager’s investment policies.

In papers submitted to the CCMA, More says she was unfairly dismissed by the PIC despite the outcome of the disciplinary hearing recommending a lesser sanction. Citing alleged bias by the chair of the hearing which affected the outcome, More says the PIC terminated her employment without providing reasons, therefore making dismissal inappropriate for the charges levelled against her.

“Allegations were levelled against me, on which I was found guilty (incorrectly so) ... the chairperson [of the inquiry] was biased against me and when a recusal application was brought, he failed to recuse himself,” she says.

“The PIC was inconsistent in dismissing me in circumstances where other employees of the PIC (charged with the same allegations and additional more serious allegations) were found guilty and received sanctions lesser than dismissal.”

The PIC declined to comment on More’s application as the matter is before the CCMA.

More was fired in 2021, two-and-a-half years after she was suspended from the PIC for her involvement in irregularities related to the PIC’s R4.3bn investment in Ayo Technology Solutions. The deal formed part of the Mpati commission’s probe into impropriety at the PIC. The commission, which released its report in 2020, found that the PIC subscribed to 99.8-million shares in Ayo at a price of R4.3bn, or R43 a share. This was grossly overvalued as there was no proper valuation to back up the investment, the commission found.

An internal investigation by the PIC, however, later cleared More of two charges related to the transaction.

Former PIC chair Reuel Khoza previously said More was fired after an investigation found her guilty of neglecting her duties.

maekot@businesslive.co.za

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