Mpati Commission Report: Sekunjalo Spin Goes Stratospheric

Sekunjalo Rogue Unit

CAPE TOWN – The much-awaited Commission of Inquiry report into allegations of impropriety at the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) has cleared erstwhile chief executive Dr Dan Matjila. Business Report can reveal that the report made no adverse findings against Matjila, Sekunjalo chairperson Dr Iqbal Survé and his companies, and other black-owned companies. Sources claim that Matjila was described as a credible witness and his submission to Judge Lex Mpati as impeccable. Sizwe Dlamini and Adri Senekal de Wet IOL 24/2/2020

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the Mpati Commission Report recommending that the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) instigate a full-scale review of all existing deals between the entity and Sekunjalo Investment Holdings in order to recoup any money that was invested in Sekunjalo companies.

The DA also supports the recommendation that the report be forwarded to the NPA and all relevant authorities to take necessary steps.

The report has exposed the false claims by Sekunjalo that they had been cleared by the Mpati Commission. Both Iqbal Survé and Dan Matjila must be held accountable for their alleged wrongdoing. Alf Lees Democratic Alliance 12/3/2020

In a flagrantly disingenuous attempt at exculpation published in Iqbal Survé’s Sekunjalo Independent Media newspapers on 24 March, Adri Senekal de Wet, the executive editor of Business Report, makes the following remark about the report of the Mpati Commission into systemic malfeasance at the Public Investment Corporation on the watch of its former CEO, Dr Dan Matjila:

There are no adverse findings against Sekunjalo, Dr Survé or the companies in which Sekunjalo and the PIC have invested contained in the report (in fact no findings at all against Sekunjalo are reported on) – pages 33 and 34 points 60-64

It should come as no surprise that what she carefully omits to mention are the nine damning references to Sekunjalo and the two equally damning references to Survé contained in the subsequent points 67 to 77 of the report.

To assist you, I have highlighted these references in this extract from the Mpati Commission report:

  1. The Sekunjalo Group investments showed a marked disregard for PIC policy and standard operating procedures.
  2. Proper governance was absent or poor, and risk identification processes were downplayed by looking for risk mitigants to make sure the deals were approved.
  3. Due diligence reports highlighting issues around independence of Board members, policies to be implemented etc. were not followed up by the PIC to ensure implementation post the deal being approved and monies having flowed.
  4. The “close relationship” between Dr Matjila and Dr Survé created top down pressures that the deal teams experienced to get the requisite approvals.
  5. Board members within the Sekunjalo Group of companies are not independent. Some board members are related to Dr Survé, are long-serving employees, long- time friends or are non-executive directors on other Sekunjalo Group company boards and dominate the board seats in those companies. Independent non- executive directors are in the minority on the boards of AEEI and Ayo.
  6. In the light of the above, the Commission recommends that the PIC must conduct a forensic review of all the processes involved in all transactions entered into with the Sekunjalo Group and ensure that the PIC obtains company registration numbers of every entity in the Sekunjalo Group to be able to conduct a forensic investigation as to the flow of monies out of and into the Group.
  7. It is further recommended that the PIC must ensure that all pre- and post- conditions for all investments made, not just those in the Sekunjalo Group, have been fully met and implemented, and that effective processes and systems are in place to properly monitor investments post disbursement.
  8. Steps must be taken to recover all monies with interest due to the PIC, especially where personal or other sureties was a precondition to approval of the investment.
  9. The PIC must also determine the future role, if any, of the PIC in all of the transactions with the Sekunjalo Group, to protect the interests of the PIC and its client; and review all aspects of the transactions entered into with the Sekunjalo Group to determine whether any laws or regulations have been broken.
  10. It is also recommended that the PIC reviews its internal processes, including its standard operating procedures, together with the DoA, to determine responsibility and culpability, and to consider whether there are grounds for disciplinary, criminal and/or civil legal action against any PIC employees or Board members, current or previous.
  11. The Commission recommends that the Regulatory and Other Authorities should consider whether any laws and/or regulations have been broken by either the PIC and/or the Sekunjalo Group; determine what legal steps, if any, should be taken to address any such violations; and assess whether the movement of funds between accounts, as indicated above, was intended to mislead/defraud investors and/or regulators.

Devoid of truth

Her claim, therefore, that the report contains no adverse findings against Survé and Sekunjalo is devoid of truth but, as former Cape Times political reporter, Dougie Oakes, has pointed out in an unchallenged article, lying is an innate part of the kick down and suck up corporate ethos of Sekunjalo which has seen the company shed more than a hundred of its most talented news staff and centuries of institutional knowledge and expertise in the past few years.

Four days earlier, the following and equally mendacious statement relating to the Mpati Commission report was attributed to Sekunjalo spokesperson Mandla Mbusi in an article carried in all Sekunjalo Independent Media newspapers:

  • There are no adverse findings against Sekunjalo, Dr Iqbal Survé or any of the companies in which Sekunjalo and the PIC have invested contained in the report.

Lies do not get more blatant or brazen than that as the DA’s Alf Lees points out in one of the anchor quotes to this article.

But, given the fact that  Sekunjalo Independent Media has been carrying article after article after article for months  proclaiming that the Mpati Commission had exonerated Iqbal Survé and former PIC head Dan Matjila and stressing that the latter was owed a media apology, the latest attempt to mislead the company’s print and online audience comes as no surprise.

Cape Times Mpati Report 1

What these obvious and easily-discernible lies show is the profound contempt for our intelligence that is routinely on display at Sekunjalo Independent Media and has been since 2013 – see here and here and here and here and here and here.

In addition to the outright lies there is the censorship by omission.

On 20 March, the board of the Public Investment Corporation issued a media statement welcoming the Mpati Commission report and promising to implement its findings which, as the report states in point 77, calls for the investigation of Iqbal Survé’s companies and legal steps to be taken where necessary:

  1. The Commission recommends that the Regulatory and Other Authorities should consider whether any laws and/or regulations have been broken by either the PIC and/or the Sekunjalo Group; determine what legal steps, if any, should be taken to address any such violations; and assess whether the movement of funds between accounts, as indicated above, was intended to mislead/defraud investors and/or regulators.

So, in the media release of March 20, the chairman of the PIC board, Reuel Khoza states:

The Board noted that the report has found that a number of transactions were funded without following due processes in line with accepted due diligence and corporate governance. I am pleased to announce that the Interim Board had already instituted processes to address the corporate governance lapses that were exposed before and during the duration of the Mpati Commission proceedings. The measures already under way include internal disciplinary action that has led to the dismissal of implicated staff and the legal action that is already under way pertaining to transactions such as the Ayo, Steinhoff, VBS and others. These proceedings are aimed at recovering monies that have been lost by the PIC and civil proceedings will also be instituted against the directors of affected companies.

The Board will also be securing the services of highly skilled external legal and forensic experts to ensure that no stone is left unturned in holding implicated parties accountable. In the interest of transparency, the details of the teams to be established will be published in due course to keep our staff, clients and the public informed.

The PIC media statement opens with a sentence about taking disciplinary action against those implicated in the report – i.e. Sekunjalo and AYO and Iqbal Survé and Daniel Matjila and the need to involve the Hawks in this process.

The IOL summary  of this PIC media release relegates this aspect to the last sentence in the article and makes no mention of the PIC board’s deliberate reference to AYO which it brackets with scams such as VBS and Steinhoff.

The truth about the Mpati Commission report is aptly summed up in the headline to this article by Marianne Thamm: ‘Malfeasance’, ‘outright manipulation’ on part of Iqbal Survé – ‘gross negligence’ on part of Dan Matjila and the headline on this article by Kyle Cowan: PIC investments in Survé’s Sekunjalo Group clearly flouted policy, report finds.

In announcing that a successor to Matjila had been identified, PIC chairman Reuel Khosa said:

‘The PIC faltered because its ethical conduct was questionable and that is where the corrosive effects and influences came in. Without ethics, it doesn’t matter how competent you are as an organisation, you will ultimately fail.’

Summing up the pillaging of the Public Investment Corporation as revealed in the Mpati Commission report, Carol Paton made a self-evident point:

‘A pot of R2-trillion of other people’s money is always going to attract flies.’

Yet another Sekunjalo lie relates to the existence – or otherwise – of Iqbal Survé’s ‘tough love’ ombudsman system.

Maintenance mode

Type into the search bar on your computer and you see this badly-written message with its missing full stop:

Mpati Report Maintenance Mode

It has been ‘under construction’ for three weeks, is unlikely to change anytime soon, and you can read the full story here.

This media amorality which carries the imprimatur of Iqbal Survé raises an obvious question: Is this what our civil servants wanted their pension money invested in?

In the past week we have seen donations of a billion rand each from the Rupert and Oppenheimer families and from Patrice Motsepe, all aimed at ameliorating the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown on citizens.

Despite being a billionaire philanthropist who exemplifies moral leadership , a litigious decimator of white privilege and one of the world’s top minds , the man who wants to ‘change the world’ and create a media legacy equivalent to the global best which will reposition Africa in the eyes of the financial world and  enable our media to flourish  and despite being an excoriating critic  of the Oppenheimer family and of white-owned companies and despite the fact that his newspapers support the Radical Economic Transformation aspirations of people like Julius Malema and Carl Niehaus and Ace Magashule, there has been no equivalent or better offer from the ‘other Mandela doctor’.

Given the fact that he is refusing to repay a loan from the Government Employees Pension Fund which, with accumulated interest, now totals well in excess of a billion rand, it could hardly be otherwise for a man of grace who is a ‘doctor tech billionaire’ and who lifts our spirits in our hour of need  (see here and here and here and here and here and here  and here and here and here and here and here and here.).

In April 2018, Adri Senekal de Wet published an article in all Independent Media newspapers across the country headlined Unethical and fake news should be criminalised. She did not respond to the questions I put to her in this regard on this website at the time or to Ivo Vegter’s similar article on Daily Maverick.

In her opinion, what legal penalty should she now face for her unethical and Fake News claims that The Mpati Commission has completely exonerated Iqbal Survé, and all his companies as well as Dan Matjila?

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Ed Herbst started his news career as a photographer with the Natal Witness in 1968 but quickly switched to reporting while retaining an interest in photography. He joined the SABC in its Pretoria news office as a camera reporter in 1977, one year after television was introduced in South Africa. In 1978 he was seconded to the SABC’s Windhoek office for six months to cover the run-up to the country’s UN-monitored election and was then posted to the SABC’s Sea Point news office. He asked for early retirement in 2005 because of pervasive SABC corruption, news censorship and unaddressed abusive treatment of staff. From 2007 to 2009 he was employed as a consultant in the media department of the Cape Town municipality but became a pensioner when personal circumstances forced him to retire. He now writes without remuneration for local websites about the interface between media and politics. He is writing a book on media capture after 1994.