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'They're trying to find a reason to fire me'

The head of South Africa’s state-owned pension fund dismissed as spurious allegations made by a newspaper on Friday that he had misused funds and improperly raised salaries for some executives.

Former Public Investment Corporation (PIC) CEO Dan Matjila. Picture: PIC

JOHANNESBURG - The head of South Africa’s state-owned pension fund dismissed as spurious allegations made by a newspaper on Friday that he had misused funds and improperly raised salaries for some executives.

Daniel Matjila has been chief executive officer of Public Investment Corporation (PIC), which manages nearly R2 trillion ($152.30 billion) of civil servants’ pensions, since 2014.

He told Reuters he would meet board members later on Friday to discuss the allegations made by newspaper Business Day.

"These are spurious allegations,” Matjila said. "They are trying to find a reason to suspend or fire me."

Business Day reported on Friday that Matjila had been accused in a letter sent to PIC’s board of using funds reserved for corporate social investment to bankroll a business of someone close to him and of irregularly raising salaries of PIC executives.

The PIC is seen as among the best-run of South Africa’s 300-odd state-owned companies and is the biggest investor in the country’s economy. It holds a large chunk of government bonds and huge stakes in blue-chip companies such as miner Anglo American, lender Barclays Africa and grocer retailer Shoprite.

On Thursday, South Africa’s Treasury denied a report in another newspaper that it was about to fire Matjila, although Deputy Finance Minister and PIC chair Sfiso Buthelezi, confirmed the board would seek "clarification from him on internal matters" at Friday’s meeting.

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