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PIC bill will curb CEO’s power

Jun 03 2018 06:07
Lesetja Malope

The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) Amendment Bill, which is set to be gazetted on Friday, may make the chief executive position, currently occupied by Dan Matjila, less influential by decentralising its powers – and hopefully attract investors.

According to the draft of the amendment, the current mechanisms are overly centralised and may lessen investors. To remedy that, it has proposed that there be designated board non-executive seats for a representative of the National Treasury and not more than three representatives of a registered trade union whose members are the majority Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) – the biggest shareholder of PIC.

It provides for directives to be tabled in the National Assembly, to the depositors as well as to publish it on its website.

Another bone of contention, which the amendment seeks to settle, is the tabling and publishing of both listed and unlisted investments.

Standing committee on finance chairperson Yunus Carrim told City Press that the aim was to have more transparency and a call for more accountability, not to reduce Matjila’s powers.

“The aims are mainly to more explicitly set out criteria for PIC investment decisions; to ensure greater openness and transparency on these decisions while taking into account market sensitivities; to consider direct trade union representation in the PIC board; and to provide for more effective parliamentary oversight of the PIC.

“We are not seeking to interfere in the internal operational and decision-making processes of the PIC and so we are not explicitly reducing the CEO’s powers, but we are calling for greater accountability of the PIC’s decisions and overall performance,” Carrim said.

He further said the committee’s oversight experience of the PIC as well as demands from the trade unions and civil society stakeholders is what prompted the amendments for a more effective parliamentary oversight over the PIC.

“As civil servants have a defined benefit pension, they are guaranteed their pensions and if the PIC does not secure the necessary return on investments then government will have to dip into the national fiscus to make up for this.

"The PIC manages almost R2 trillion and is utterly crucial to ensuring that the economic growth, job creation and broad-based black economic empowerment goals of the country are realised. The National Treasury, the GEPF, the trade unions and Parliament all have to contribute to ensuring this,” he said.

Carrim said the committee hopes to complete processing the bill by mid-September.

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pic  |  state owned enterprises  |  legislation
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