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Vuyo Jack details an atmosphere of fear at PIC

Vuyo Jack has given details about a governance review process led by audit firm KPMG that was implemented after concerns were raised during a survey.

A screengrab shows Vuyo Jack at the PIC inquiry on 4 March 2019.

JOHANNESBURG - A former Public Investment Corporation (PIC) board member has given insight into the state of affairs at the corporation during his time there, saying workers were managed poorly in an atmosphere of fear.

Vuyo Jack is testifying at the PIC inquiry in Pretoria on Monday.

He's given details about a governance review process led by audit firm KPMG that was implemented after concerns were raised during an organisational climate survey led by Deloitte.

Jack said following the results of that survey, he suggested that the board take leadership and confront the issues through a PIC innovation lab.

“Providing staff with a platform to vocalise their issues in general within the PIC directly with the board of the PIC thus creating robust rapport between employees and board members."

Follow proceedings in the video below:

A NON-COOPERATIVE MATJILA

Jack said he was never able to bring former CEO Dan Matjila to account and make him explain investment decisions.

From the very beginning of his testimony, Jack told the commission how he had made efforts to improve the environment at the PIC by implementing an innovation lab where workers could voice their concerns.

He said this initiative was quickly scrapped as it contributed to the unhappiness of executive committee members, namely Matjila and Matshepo More.

“All the members of the exco participated in the review engagement and provided valuable suggestions about what can change, except for Dr Dan Matjila.”

He said Matjila also did not honour any meeting requests.

“And his attendance record at the fund investment panel and some other committee-level engagement was a concern.”

Jack also said he indicated the problems he had with Matjila to then Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan but Gordhan was then replaced by Nhlanhla Nene and Mcebisi Jonas as Deputy Finance Minister became PIC board chair.

Jack said a draft governance review report compiled from his interviews with employees revealed that the organisation had adapted to a tightly controlled executive structure.

He said there are contradictions between the PIC's fiduciary duties and its actual governance practices.

Jack insists this culture has bred a centralised and evidently unaccountable executive leadership.

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)

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