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PIC director tells inquiry Mboweni told board to resign

Feb 26 2019 12:18
Sibongile Khumalo

A member of the Public Investment Corporation's board said on Tuesday that the board only offered to step down after it was instructed to do so by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni. 

Board member Dudu Hlatshwayo was giving evidence before the judicial commission of inquiry probing allegations of impropriety at the state-run asset manager. Her evidence contradicts what was said by board chair and deputy Finance Minister Mondli Gungubele on Monday. 

The board announced its resignation in a letter to Mboweni in early February. A new board has not been announced yet. 

Hlatshwayo testified on Tuesday that Gungubele had informed members during a meeting on Friday, February 1, that Mboweni had given the board an ultimatum to resign or face being fired.

Hlatshwayo testified that during the meeting Gungubele stepped outside to take a call and returned with the news.

“On coming back, he indicated that he was about to tell the board something significant, which was about to change everything.

“This is when he told the board that the minister wanted the whole board to resign immediately, failing which, the board would be fired by Monday, 4 February 2019,” she said, adding that Mboweni was going to appoint the new board by the following week.

Hlatshwayo’s testimony contradicts what was presented by Gungubele on Monday. During his testimony, he made no mention of being given an ultimatum to quit.

In her statement, Hlatshwayo said she asked Gungubele if the resignation would not be considered an admission of guilt on the board’s part. 

“The answer was: ‘You resign today, or face being fired by Monday’.”

She said the idea of resigning en masse came from fellow board member, Sibusisiwe Zulu, who “quickly and flawlessly dictated the letter of resignation to company secretary….the letter was signed by all directors”.

Gungubele told the inquiry that the decision to resign had been unanimous.

In the resignation letter, the members indicated that they will stay on until a new structure is appointed.

Hlatshwayo added that the board was currently in a “business as usual” mode, pending the appointment of a new board.



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