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Friction at PIC dates back 4 years

Luyanda Ntuane testifies at the PIC inquiry.

Dysfunction at the top of South Africa’s Public Investment Corporation dates back to before departed chief executive officer Daniel Matjila succeeded Elias Masilela more than four years ago, according to the former chief technology officer of Africa’s biggest money manager.

While the PIC’s executive committee was “fairly balanced and focused” prior to Masilela’s departure in May 2014, his relationship with then-chief investment officer Matjila was a portent of a later deterioration in how senior management interacted, Luyanda Ntuane said Tuesday in the capital, Pretoria. After Matjila took over as CEO, he swiftly made changes to the way the executive committee was structured and the organisation became an increasingly difficult one in which to work, he said.

Read: PIC board quits as scandals mount

Ntuane was testifying into an ongoing commission of inquiry into allegations of mismanagement and corruption at the PIC, which has assets of more than R2 trillion and manages South African government-worker pension funds. Tension at the top came to a head last month when nine directors resigned en masse, including Chairman, Mondli Gungubele, who is also the country’s deputy finance minister.

Ntane’s testimony echoes that of several other former PIC employees, who have told the inquiry of long-term friction, division and distrust. Ntuane was suspended and left the PIC in May 2016. Matjila and other executives deny wrongdoing.

The commission of inquiry heard Monday that the PIC board appointed auditors at Deloitte LLP in 2013 to review working conditions because of mounting tensions in various sub-committees and the executive committee.

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P

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