Lubbe targeted black firms – new evidence

CAPE TOWN – Despite Mpati Commission evidence leader advocate Jannie Lubbe’s claims that he never prejudiced black-owned companies, new evidence has emerged suggesting he may have done so in a different letter to the one he tabled before the commission last week.

In his response to the Independent Media report that he had singled out nine black-owned firms for attention before the start of the commission, Lubbe said it was factually incorrect to say he did so because he later added other mostly white-owned companies such as Steinhoff, Ascendis Health, Grit, NEF and Eskom among 38 other companies. 

He did not say why they were initially excluded. 

Lubbe submitted a letter to the commission, dated January 15, 2019, saying he did not instruct former acting PIC chief executive Matshepo More but merely requested information from the PIC about the nine companies. 

Screenshot 219627 61134 - Lubbe targeted black firms – new evidence

However, Independent Media can reveal that the letter in its possession, dated December 4, 2018, was not tabled by Lubbe. 

The letter clearly shows that prior engagement between Lubbe and More had taken place. 

This letter was not disclosed at the commission.

The commission is probing allegations of impropriety at the Public Investment Commission, 

This came after a leaked letter written by More revealed that Lubbe had targeted the nine companies even though they accounted for R22 billion of the more than R100bn PIC investments. 

They included VBS Mutual Bank, Lancaster, S&S Refineries and Sekunjalo subsidiaries such as AYO Technology Solutions and Independent Media. Notably, the PIC investment in all nine companies totals about 25 percent of its transactions and that several companies on the list are still viable. 

Interestingly, 30 percent of his initial list consisted of companies in which Sekunjalo has an interest. 

Commission transcripts and statements show that AYO Technology Solutions has been the main focus. It has been discussed more than any other company at the commission. 

However, firms such as Group 5, EOH, Tongaat Hulett, AfriSam, Tiso Blackstar, MTN remain untouched, despite allegedly costing the PIC about R100bn.  

During his heated exchange with More last week, Lubbe began by taking issue with suggestions that he had instructed the PIC board and management to target black companies.

“Now before we start with your statement there is another aspect I’d like to get out of the way, on June 19 this year on the front page of The Star newspaper there appeared an article referring to a leaked letter written by you.

“That letter has revealed how the evidence leader, and that is me, had instructed you and the rest of the board of the PIC, senior management and staff at the asset manager to provide detailed information specifically related to just nine groups of companies. 

“The emphasis is on the words ‘instructed you and the board’. Now I’ve requested you to bring that letter to the commission, have you got a copy of that?” Lubbe asked, to which More said “yes!”

More maintained that she would “not deal directly” with media reports, as she was “not privy” to the leaked letter. 

She said she was only aware of the one she wrote to the board, “updating them about the progress regarding the commission”. 

Offering to rather “clarify”, More began reading the contents of her letter before Lubbe interjected.  

“Thank you, we can stop there. That’s the relevant part of the letter that I wanted you to read into the record. 

“Do you see or find anything in the letter that I instructed you or the board to do something?” he asked. 

“So the word instruct, so you just requested information on an urgent basis,” More replied. 

More further told the commission that she had suggested to Lubbe that two other companies should be added to the list.

“I responded to this e-mail from advocate Lubbe and highlighted it to say: ‘Thank you for your email. 

“Quick question: I see even this list does not have any NEF and also Eskom. Should I take it that they are not applicable? 
“I won’t go further for that. Then advocate Lubbe responded and said the two I mentioned must be included.”

The letter clearly shows that prior engagement between Lubbe and More had taken place.


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