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Dan Matjila: I was invited to meetings by certain ministers

The former PIC CEO gave details on events and operations at the commission during his time as chief investment officer and chief executive officer.

Former Public Investment Corporation (PIC) CEO Dan Matjila appearing at the commission of inquiry into the PIC. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

PRETORIA - Former Public Investment Corporation (PIC) CEO Dan Matjila’s informal meetings with various ministers come under scrutiny on Tuesday at the PIC commission.

Matjila said that once he was appointed CEO, he implemented structural changes in the corporation despite the difficult environment. He gave details on events and operations at the commission during his time as chief investment officer and chief executive officer.

Matjila served as CEO for four years and was thus answerable to some of the questionable deals struck by the commission with various companies.

• Holomisa wants Matjila probed for alleged VBS loan

Once he was appointed CEO, Matjila said he was in a difficult environment. He said he would be invited to meetings by certain ministers and commissioner Gill Marcus wanted to know why.

“I think for me it was very important that I recognised them as ministers and listened to them. Sometimes I did go to meetings on my own,” he said.

Matjila said because of the mandate of the PIC, he would honour some private meetings.

He said despite his meetings, he never jeopardised the institution.

'POLITICAL APPOINTEE'

Matjila told the PIC commission that he earned the position of CEO and was not a political appointee.

He explained his history to the commission, saying he had worked with the PIC as a consultant for STANLIB from 2003 and was subsequently appointed chief investment officer.

• Matjila never received VBS loan, inquiry told

He said in December 2014, he and three other external candidates were interviewed by then-Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene for the position.

“After a fiercely contested interview process chaired by the [former] Finance Minister Mr Nhlanhla Nene. Other panellists were Mr Mcebisi Jonas, who was the chairperson of the PIC at the time and the deputy minister of finance, Mr Lungisa Fuzile who was director general of National Treasury,” Matjila said.

Matjila said his possession of a doctorate may have contributed to his appointment.

“Maybe that’s why I applied because I felt there were so few PhD’s around here, I might as well put my name in the hat.”

He said upon his appointment, his first priority was to reinvigorate the PIC and position it on a higher level than it had ever been on.

MATJILA ON POLITICAL INFLUENCE AT THE PIC

Matjila said the political influence at the PIC affected the organisation negatively.

He told the commission that the fact that the chair of the PIC is a politician, as the deputy finance minister, had been problematic for the corporation.

“And also the shareholder to some extent as a politician has been problematic, especially in the past few years where we have seen several Cabinet reshuffles,”

Matjila said the reshuffling of Cabinet always affected the PIC.

“There will be no chairman for a while until the chairman is appointed by the minister… there’s a process that’s involved in taking the name to the Cabinet and it being approved.”

He said while a new minister was deciding on who leads the PIC, the corporation remained in limbo.

WATCH: Holomisa wants Dan Matjila investigated over alleged VBS loan

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