United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa has urged the commission of inquiry into the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) to continue to unearth the rot at the asset management company.
Holomisa, who was also a whistleblower, urged the commission to provide clarity on some of the corruption allegations that have been made against a number of former and current PIC directors. The commission is probing corruption allegations at the corporation, which manages over R2 trillion in assets on behalf of public servants and institutions.
Testifying at the PIC commission of inquiry in Pretoria on Wednesday, he questioned the safety of pension funds belonging to teachers, soldiers, police officers and civil servants.
Clarity and answers need to be tabled, according to Holomisa, who explained how he wrote to the public protector to launch an investigation in 2016 to probe alleged dodgy dealings at the corporation.
The commission into the PIC has heard how there was a network of selected individuals who had easy access to the PIC’s resources.
“It will be advisable for the commission to be proactive and investigate the unlisted transactions, where it is unnecessary to obtain the full board’s permission. In other words, up to less than R2 billion per transaction can be approved without the board’s permission.”
He said the PIC-funded BEE transactions that were losing money at the PIC could be described as a sophisticated way of looting money from state coffers, and questioned if PIC money should be used without adequate structuring.
“A deep forensic investigation of the apparent networks of the sophisticated culture of the PIC dealings needs to be conducted. A certain level of transparency is needed.”
Holomisa suggested that all unlisted transaction be suspended – with immediate effect – until the commission had concluded with its findings.
“The commission is hereby requested to investigate and make a finding on the performance of the PIC against the All Share Index of the JSE and in so, if such performance is not below inflation – taking into account that the PIC is set to be holding an average of 15% of the JSE overall market capitalisation.”
The commission was also asked to investigate the expertise of marketing research analysts at the PIC, taking into account that the PIC has recently had to write off tens of billions of rands of investments in various listed shares.
He urged President Cyril Ramaphosa to provide the commission with all the time it needed probe the rot within the PIC.