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Suspended CEO Matshepo More to continue testimony at PIC inquiry

Matshepo More started her testimony on Monday where she denied interfering in the work of the commission the allegation that led to her suspension.

Suspended acting CEO of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) Matshepo More. Picture: YouTube screengrab.

JOHANNESBURG – Suspended acting CEO of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) Matshepo More was expected back on the stand at the inquiry into the corporation on Tuesday to reveal more details on the running at the PIC and respond the allegations against her.

More started her testimony on Monday where she denied interfering in the work of the commission; the allegation that led to her suspension.

She has also denied victimising any of the employees of the PIC.

More said all she did was propose to the board to appoint an external legal firm to assist employees on a voluntary basis in preparing their statements for the commission.

She has told the commission that a month before she was notified of her precautionary suspension, the evidence leader advised her to seek special leave.

She said he told her he was giving her fatherly advice because of the complaints he had received against her.

More said she decided not to act until there were direct allegations against her but she was suspended by the board without receiving any formal complaints.

She would continue her testimony on Tuesday morning on the allegations of victimisation against her.

She was also expected to give details on remuneration and incentives at the PIC and the role she played in the Ayo Technologies transaction.

She was appointed acting CEO at the end of the last year after her controversial predecessor, Dan Matjila, was sacked. But her stint was short lived as she was suspended in March this year after allegations she interfered in an inquiry into impropriety at the fund manager, which is worth R2 trillion.

More's testimony got off to a slow start on Monday morning, with commissioners questioning her on her role at the PIC, its memorandums of incorporation and the power dynamics at the corporation during her time.

She listed for the commission the specific areas her testimony would cover. Chief of these were the allegations that she interfered with the work of the commission.

“I categorically deny that I have done anything that interfered with or has the effect of interfering with the work of the commission.”

She sought to outline what happened before she was placed on precautionary suspension.

“On 8 March 2019, Ms Lindiwe Dlamini, acting executive head of legal, and I reported to the board of directors of the PIC that there were some staff members who indicated that the investigators of the commission requested them to provide statements in [Microsoft] Word and that they were not comfortable with this request.”

'TWO CENTERS OF POWER'

More also told the inquiry that during her time as CFO of the PIC, there were only two executive directors at the corporation.

Former Reserve Bank governor Gill Marcus questioned whether there were two centres of power during More's time as CFO.

“You then have, as I understand, your structure. As we’ve seen in the evidence before us, you’ve got your executive heads, but you’ve got two centres of power, the CEO and the CFO. That has come through completely.”

But More insisted that despite the structure at the time, she and Matjila had no unfair advantage.

“The CEO is the accounting officer. Let’s go back to the sentence on power. I’ll use demonstrations of committees. No committee, specifically the management committee, could make a decision that stipulated that either myself or the CEO had a veto ticket. So, if we said ‘no,’ this didn’t mean something would not happen.”

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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