Matshepo More, former chief financial officer and now suspended acting chief executive of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), has denied that she was responsible for the alleged victimisation of PIC employees who have appeared before the commission which is looking into alleged impropriety at the state asset management company.
More was placed on precautionary suspension in March after being accused by former and current PIC officials of meddling with the processes of the commission of inquiry – an allegation which she has denied.
On Monday, More told the commission that although some PIC employees who had appeared before the commission had alleged or insinuated that she had victimised them, almost all of them did not point to any specific incidents, adding that their allegations are “overly broad and unsubstantiated”.
She claimed that contrary to the allegations, her office has retained its employees and has even seen some employees returning.
“Since I became the CFO, majority of the finance team remains in the employ of the PIC and in my team. In fact, some of the team members who had resigned or moved to other departments have re-joined the finance team,” she says.
More further denied allegations made by former IT head, Luyanda Ntuane, that she spearheaded his exit from the asset manager.
Ntuane was suspended after being accused of sexual harassment and procurement irregularities.
Ntuane told the commission in March that his professional life at the PIC took a left turn when he was required to report to More from 2014 to 2016 as she used “shrewd tactics” and created a culture of “mistrust” among staff.
More said she doesn’t want to speculate whether or not Ntuane had a problem reporting to a woman but that the possibility was always at the back of her mind
“I’ll always like to say that it’s inherent [in me] being a female and young. I’m cognisant that I’ll always have to prove myself,” she says.
Quizzed by the commission’s assistant, Emmanuel Lediga, on Ntuane’s allegations against her, More shrugged them off saying that she cannot comment on Ntuane’s assertions as he had not provided the commission with any specific incident.
More said she believes her relationship with Ntuane soured in 2015 after she poured cold water on his plans to have her play an intricate role in the procurement of a new financial technology system for the company from technology provider SAP.
She added that Ntuane advised a representative from SAP, Pedro Tembe to contact her directly in order for her to provide guidance to on the status of the tender. More says she refused as she is not permitted to directly contact any individuals or bidders.
“I then requested Mr Ntuane to refrain from advising bidders to contact me directly as this compromised my position as the CFO,” she explained.
“In my view I was just carrying out my duties. I’ve never had a personal vendetta,” she said.
Thando Maeko is an Adamela Trust business reporter at the Mail & Guardian.