Ex-PIC head Dan Matjila will continue his testimony before the commission of inquiry led by Justice Lex Mpati. This is Matjila’s fourth consecutive day appearing before the commission.
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Marcus asks Matjila about managing conflict of interest.
Matjila says the PIC is seen as a training ground- creating new enterprises (black enterprises) and supporting them. This should be across all sectors, and mainly the financial sector where the PIC is a main player.
He says when it comes to advisory services, the PIC did not see why they should not create those out of employees, to move out of the PIC and become bigger without the constraint of the PIC.
But the PIC is constantly attacked for having a conflict of interest – but in the private sector this is common.
Some of the biggest entities were created as spinoffs of other larger entities.
Matjila finds the treatment of the PIC to be unfair.
Marcus says the PIC is not prohibited from doing this- the process must just be transparent.
Marcus says the form is there- but is the substance there?
“You can have all the checks and balances about signing the declaration but the practice is different.”
She asks if there is a difference between the forms and practice.
Matjila responds that it has been a challenge to deal with this aspect of conflict.
“From management side, the investment process we put in place we believe has been effective,” he says.
Investments are screened and go through rigorous due diligence. before they get to any committee – they are presented because they are believed to be clear.
Lediga asks about the GEPF – if the pension fund has a surplus of money – why isn’t government taking some of its funds to boost the economy. He asks for Matjila’s views.
Matjila says this can be handled better- on a voluntary process or as a mandate as opposed to just being forcefully expropriated from the GEPF.
Almost half of the GEPF members will retire in 15 years and the other half will retire beyond 15 years.
There is an opportunity to stricture a different strategic asset allocation, Matjila says.
Meanwhile Cosatu’s Parliamentary Coordinator Matthew Parks has issued a formal statement responding to Matjila’s testimony.
The trade union federation has rejected claims that it had a hand in Matjila’s resignation from the PIC.
Cosatu said it became involved in the Edcon deal in late January 2019 – after Matjila’s resignation.
“Our mandate was and remains clear. It is to do everything possible (and within the parameters of the law) to save the 40 000 direct jobs in the Edcon group and the 100 000 indirect jobs at factories and companies supplying Edcon. Those are COSATU members and workers,” Parks said.
“The Edcon intervention was a tripartite collective effort of the lenders, landlords and workers (through the UIF). Its goal was to save 140 000 workers’ jobs,” he added.
“Unfortunately Dr Matjila has still failed to provide any substance or evidence for this allegation. His sole basis for this little diversionary fairy tale is an email sent to the then Deputy Minister of Finance, Mondli Gungubele, requesting the PIC’s support for the Edcon rescue package a whole three months after Dr. Matjila’s resignation!
“Without bothering to indulge Dr. Matjila’s chronological fantasies, it is difficult for a sober person to comprehend why someone would resign in November 2018 because of an email that would only be written three months later!” Parks said.
Parks explained that the intervention to save Edcon by Cosatu was an act of “worker solidarity”. He reiterated that Cosatu intended to protect workers’ jobs. Parks said it was irrelevant that the Edcon deal was wrapped ahead of elections – Matjila had pointed it out in his testimony. “There are always pending elections in a democracy.”