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DA's proposed law to strengthen PIC transparency to be tabled in parliament

Jan 17 2018 17:32

Johannesburg -  A new bill that wants to give greater power to the National Assembly to appoint the chair of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) will be tabled in parliament soon.

Democratic Alliance (DA) spokesperson on finance David Maynier is set to introduce the new bill that will change how the PIC works, and that will aim to limit interference from government.

The PIC was mired in controversy last year, when rumours emerged that it will be required to help bail out ailing state-owned enterprises, such as South African Airways (SAA) and Eskom.

Maynier, on behalf of the DA, has submitted a private members bill to strengthen good governance and transparency at the PIC, for tabling in Parliament. He said the draft bill aims to enhance its governance, introduce checks and balances in its management structures, and increase transparency.

In a statement the DA said the Public Investment Corporation Amendment Bill aims to promote good governance and transparency at the Public Investment Corporation, which manages funds on behalf of several clients, including the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF).

The PIC manages about R1.9 trillion in assets on behalf of the GEPF.

It proposes six amendments to the Public Investment Corporation Act, to strengthen good governance and transparency at the PIC

The proposed bill wants to ensure that most importantly, the chair of the PIC would be appointed by the Finance Minister, but only on the recommendation of the National Assembly and that the person must have the necessary expertise, qualifications and good character as required by the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act.

At the moment the minister alone appoints the chair.

It also endeavours for the board of the PIC to include a representative of registered trade unions whose members form the majority of the members of the GEPF, while suggesting that a report reflecting all investments, whether listed or unlisted, be tabled in an annual report and published on the website of the PIC.

The new proposed bill was published for public comment in the Government Gazette last year October, and will now be processed in the National Assembly.

After the PIC controversy emerged last year,  Gigaba on Tuesday ordered a forensic audit of all the PIC’s investments for the past two years, saying this was needed for "transparency purposes in the public trust". 

"Any form of uncertainty in the PIC would further destabilise the economy," he wrote.

The DA said it looked forward to deliberating on submissions from interested parties, and believed that the bill would strengthen good governance and transparency at the PIC.

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pic  |  david maynier  |  pension fund
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