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Gigaba PIC actions questioned

Oct 06 2017 16:48

Cape Town - Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba's claims of taking "bold action" at the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), because of what he regards as politicising of the asset manager, is nothing more than his "spin machine" in action, according to the DA.

The PIC represents 230 000 SA state workers and manages about R1.86trn in assets.

Gigaba has requested PIC CEO Daniel Matjila and the board to provide a list within two weeks of all its beneficiaries and the investments it has made. Gigaba intends to make this public. He also wants them to conduct a forensic investigation into any concerns of irregularities.

DA spokesperson on finance David Maynier reacted by claiming Gigaba’s “spin machine” is playing catch up, desperately trying to claim ownership of processes that are already underway at the PIC.

According to Maynier, the first disclosure of beneficiaries and investments, which included details of directors and shareholders, was already made by the PIC last year, and work towards preparing the second disclosure is already underway at the asset manager.

"The chairperson has already agreed, following a request from myself, to consider an investigation into irregularities, including the recent smear campaign, which did so much damage to the PIC," Maynier told Fin24.

In August South African Airways (SAA) indicated in its corporate plan that the PIC could be a source of funding. Business Day also claimed that Gigaba told executives of the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) that he can’t guarantee that government won’t attempt to make use of funds held by the PIC to recapitalise struggling state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and fund other projects.

In September Bloomberg reported that National Treasury is pressuring the PIC to provide as much as R100bn to fund struggling SOEs, according to two people with knowledge of the situation.

This led to Cosatu threatening to replace the PIC with privately owned fund managers to oversee its members' pension funds.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa) and the Public Servants Association (PSA) then called for vigilance to prevent workers' pension funds managed by the PIC from being used to bail out SOEs.

At a media briefing towards the end of September Gigaba gave the assurance that pensions managed by the PIC are safe and that the PIC was not approached by Treasury for R100bn to bail out SEOs. He said he has full faith in the PIC CEO and board.

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