Union welcomes probe into PIC directors, chairperson

Pretoria – The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) on Wednesday said it welcomed the decision by the board of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) to investigate allegations of impropriety against its acting chief executive officer and two non-executive directors.

Earlier on Wednesday, the PIC said it would probe allegations of impropriety levelled against two non-executive directors. 

In a statement, the PIC said its directors held a special board meeting on Tuesday evening after having received an e-mail from a whistleblower, who signed off as "James Noko", alleging impropriety. The email implicated two non-executive directors and the acting chief executive Matshepo More.

"Following the recusal of the three affected board members, the board meeting was chaired by the deputy chairman, Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi. At the meeting, it was resolved to immediately conduct a forensic investigation into these allegations," the statement said, adding: "The board will engage the services of an experienced senior counsel to assist the board with the said investigation."

Nehawu said in a statement that it will closely monitor this matter to ensure that workers’ pension funds are recouped.

"As Nehawu, we hope that a thorough investigation free from interference will be undertaken to unearth any wrongdoing that has led to the PIC losing workers’ hard-earned pension funds," it said. 

"The national union holds a strong view that there are more skeletons still hidden in the closet and that they must be let out in order to ascertain the extent of the rot at the state asset manager."

Business Report published a story on Wednesday saying that non-executive director Sibusisiwe Zulu allegedly approved transactions worth about R6 billion for her live-in partner, Lawrence Mulaudzi. A leaked email from Noko alleged Zulu has benefited more than R600 million in shareholding and well over R100 million in fees.

Deputy finance minister and chairperson of the PIC, Mondli Gungubele, also said he "welcomed" the decision to probe allegations of impropriety levelled against him.

Although Gungubele was not named in the PIC board statement announcing a probe into allegations of wrongdoing, he said he was responding to calls by journalists seeking his comment.

"I have noted the decision by my fellow board members to investigate the allegations against me contained in an email circulated this week by a ‘whistle-blower’. I welcome the opportunity to clear this matter once and for all. However, I am confident that I have done nothing wrong," Gungubele said in a short statement.

Nehawu also said it welcomes this commitment by Gungubele, adding that it views the allegations made against him in a very serious light and it was very important for him to clear his name and prove that he was not involved in any forms impropriety at the PIC.

The PIC, Africa’s largest asset manager, has more than R2 trillion of assets under management, mostly government employees pension funds. 

The ongoing commission of inquiry, which is chaired by former president of the Supreme Court of Appeal, Lex Mpati, is probing allegations of impropriety at the PIC. It continues in Pretoria. 

African News Agency (ANA)

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