'Politicians put pressure for PIC funds' - Dan Matjila

Former Public Investment Corporation (PIC) CEO Dan Matjila.
Former Public Investment Corporation (PIC) CEO Dan Matjila.
Image: James Oatway

A storm is brewing over an alleged R2.4m undeclared loan advanced by the failed VBS Mutual Bank to former Public Investment Corporation head Dan Matjila.

The alleged loan, which was apparently not declared to the PIC, was seemingly uncovered by a forensic investigation commissioned by the corporation. UDM leader Bantu Holomisa posted pages from the alleged forensic report, dated April 2019, on his Twitter account. It details a R2.456, 761.66 given to Matjila in 2017.

The report stated: "Dr Matjila was granted a loan in VBS and, in his capacity as CEO and his direct involvement in the 2nd and 3rd rights issue, he had the duty to disclose that he received such a loan. In the absence of documentation from VBS, we are unable to conclude whether such a loan constitutes a gratification."

Matjila, who's currently on the stand at the PIC commission of inquiry in Pretoria, through his lawyers, denied receiving such a loan.

Head of corporate affairs at PIC Deon Botha yesterday couldn't confirm or deny the findings of the said forensic probe.

"The VBS investment is one of the investments that the commission of inquiry into the PIC is looking into. As a principle, the PIC does not comment on investments that are before the commission."

In October last year, a report by advocate Terry Motau and Werksman's Attorneys, titled the Big Bank Heist, detailed how the VBS bank was looted of about R2bn by politically connected individuals, including employees of the PIC, which had approved the investment of millions into the bank.

President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed former president of the Supreme Court of Appeal, judge Lex Mpati, to head the commission of inquiry into, among others, the corporation's deals, structure and the remuneration of employees between January 2015 and August last year. Mpati is assisted by former Reserve Bank governor Gill Marcus and Emmanuel Lediga as commissioners.

Throughout my time spent as CIO, I experienced a great deal of pressure from senior politicians of most parties
Dan Matjila, former PIC CEO and CIO

Matjila yesterday told the inquiry about "great deals of pressure" from politicians and "very influential people" who wanted their associates' business ventures to be funded.

Matjila, who was appointed PIC CEO in December 2014, said leading the PIC which manages assets worth more than R2-trillion, was "extremely stressful".

Matjila spent 15 years at the corporation as CEO and CIO (chief information officer).

Matjila told the inquiry yesterday, his second day on the stand, that the PIC was prone to outside pressures.

"Throughout my time spent as CIO, I experienced a great deal of pressure from senior politicians of most parties, very influential people in various fields and business people who, for no other reason than entitlement, felt that their business ventures or those of their associates deserved to be financed by the PIC."

Marcus asked him, in the light of the pressures outlined, how did he ensure that the credibility of the PIC was protected when these ministers, who had nothing to do with the work of the PIC, asked to meet him. "Did you take someone with you to these meetings to record or take notes?"

Matjila, who admitted to have met some ministers in private, said: "They asked for private meetings; the biggest protection for me would be the process of the PIC."

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