DANIEL MATJILA: ‘I continue to enjoy the full support of the minister’
Corporate governance standards remain an important consideration in investment decision-making, writes Daniel Matjila
Following this past week's increased public interest, I deem it best to provide context to the article carried by Business Times on September 24, bearing the headline "Matjila: 'PIC cash is the goal'".
It is regrettable that the story creates an impression that I am at loggerheads with the PIC shareholder representative, who is the minister of finance, and the chairperson of the PIC board, who is the deputy minister of finance. This is far from the truth. As far as I am concerned, I continue to enjoy the full support of the minister of finance and the PIC board. This point was reiterated at a media briefing arranged by the National Treasury on Tuesday, September 26.
Prior to the September 24 edition, I was called by Business Times and requested to talk about the corporation's investment strategy, which seeks to drive inclusive growth, our investment process in general and specifically how we approach investments in state-owned entities.
I indicated broadly that, in making investment decisions, first and foremost the PIC considers its clients' mandates. To re-emphasise this point: investment decisions are informed by the provisions of the mandates entered into with our clients.
Any transaction funded by the PIC must fit the clients' mandates.
Transactions that fit the mandate are subjected to a thorough due diligence process before an investment decision is taken. Over and above these mandates, all transactions or requests for funding are subjected to various rigorous investment assessment and evaluation procedures, compliance, risk and legal policies as well as environmental social and governance frameworks, all of which are approved by the board. These considerations are made when investing in both state-owned enterprises and investments in privately held entities.
The clients' mandates are such that they do allow for investments in SOEs. At the moment, the PIC holds significant bonds in SOEs.
We have publicly expressed our view that corporate governance standards remain an important consideration in our investment decision-making and we will continue to emphasise this point wherever and whenever the opportunity presents itself.
In the same interview, I also spoke about allegations that there are people who would like to remove me as the PIC CEO.
I made it clear that allegations made against me, wherein I am accused of all sorts of things - including claims that I funded my "girlfriend" from corporate social investment funds - have been made by anonymous individuals.
To this day, these individuals have failed to substantiate these allegations. There has also been an active campaign against me in some of the less-conventional and social media platforms. One in particular carried a long analysis claiming that: "PIC CEO Matjila warrants being suspended".
The website wmcleaks.com brazenly labelled me as being "part of a covert project to influence fiscal and monetary policy" and "handled through various handlers".
In another instance my picture was circulated with the accusation: "This is Daniel Matjila, the CEO of the PIC, a loyal servant of monopoly capital and white domination in this country.
"If the ANC government continues to retain him at the helm of the PIC, then talks of economic transformation and radical economic transformation are nothing but cheap rhetoric (sic). This man, who is a puppet of Pravin, continues to fund white companies with billions from pension funds of black workers ... "
Looking at these collective attacks, my conclusion was that, "to the extent that these allegations are unsubstantiated, they aim to cast aspersion on my integrity so that I am suspended and eventually relieved of my duties as the PIC CEO".
As explained to the board, the allegations levelled against me are malicious and can only serve to tarnish the PIC and the character of the CEO.
'Keys to the safe'
As the CEO, I am responsible for the day-to-day running of the PIC and to ensure that governance in our investment processes is upheld. It was for this reason that I said "I hold the keys to the safe".
The essence of what I was saying is that the PIC follows strong governance processes with every investment application for approval and that the likelihood of looting was almost nonexistent - hence the comment about holding the key to the safe.
As we have always said, our investment decisions are made such that they derive optimal benefits for our clients, the owners of the capital. Anything that does not contribute to our clients' investment objectives will not be considered.
• Matjila is CEO of the Public Investment Corporation