Ex-PIC boss could not dictate terms of his exit, Inquiry hears

PRETORIA – Public Investment Corporation (PIC) director Dudu Hlatshwayo cemented allegations that the asset manager’s board was deeply divided evidenced in how erstwhile chief executive Dr Dan Matjila’s notice to leave was handled.
According to Hlatshwayo, Matjila‘s resignation was discussed at a board meeting held on November 23, 2018.
“The Board was divided on whether the CEO could be allowed to serve his notice and leave at the end of April 2019. The other view was that he needed to leave employment immediately.” 
She said the view to let him serve notice until end April 2019 was informed by the fact that Matjila’s presence could still benefit the PIC and the wish to protect Dr Dan’s reputation as well as the wish to manage his exit as amicably as possible and in a manner that does not destroy his reputation, but also to honour the terms of the contract, while the other view felt that Matjila wanted to dictate the terms of his exit to the board. 
This in stark contrast with Deputy Finance Minister Mondli Gungubele’s testimony before the Commission that the board’s decision was unanimous.
Gungubele said: “I was after every director in the boardroom expressed their views on the content of the CEO’s letter, that the board resolved that it was in the interest of the PIC and in we believed, his interest for us to accept his resignation with immediate effect … I must mention that Dr Dan Matjila’s letter had various term but the board unanimously resolved not to accept them.” 
Hlatshwayo said: “At this meeting, there were differences of opinion as to whether the chief executive had actually resigned. The board was divided on the matter. One view was that the CEO was requesting the board to open discussions relating to possible termination. His letter actually outlined the terms within which he wanted to exit while trying to protect the interest and the integrity of the organisation. 
“Even those that had disagreed, were bound by the decision of the board to accept the resignation with immediate effect. I requested that a legal opinion be obtained to clarify if a resignation had taken place. This was denied and thereafter I abstained from the decision on the basis that I felt I needed expert guidance on the matter. 
“Incidentally, Ms Zulu already had a caption of case law, which she read out to the board to prove that indeed the CEO had resigned. Ms Zulu immediately started writing resolutions of the board, media statements, and letter to the CEO on the termination of his employment. 
“It appeared to me that there were members of the board who came to the meeting already knowing what was to take place,” said Hlatshwayo.
This story first appeared on Business Report Online