ANC MPs lobby to stop PIC amendment bill – report

Former Public Investment Corporation CEO Dan Matjila. Picture: Gallo Images

Former Public Investment Corporation CEO Dan Matjila. Picture: Gallo Images

The bill is intended to strengthen and bring positive changes to the weakened Public Investment Corporation.

There are behind-the-scenes efforts by some government ministers to put a spanner in the works and oppose the passing of the proposed Public Investment Corporation (PIC) Amendment Bill, according to an EWN report.

The amendment bill is intended to strengthen and bring positive changes to the weakened PIC, which is responsible for managing assets on behalf of, among other institutions, the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), for which the corporation handles over R2 trillion in assets.

It has now been reported that ANC MPs in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) are allegedly being lobbied to vote against the bill.

Among the amendments in the bill is a clause that will detail listed and unlisted investments tabled before parliament. The proposed bill will also have a clause that will detail all ministerial directives at the PIC.

It also makes provision for the inclusion of at least three members of the PIC board to be from organised labour, which is alleged to be the reason why the bill is receiving some resistance.

The ANC’s chief whip Jackson Mthembu has, however, denied allegations of party members being lobbied to vote against the bill.

The NCOP is expected to conduct public hearings on the PIC bill on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Cosatu’s parliamentary coordinator Mathew Parks warned against further delays. “There has always been a covert campaign from some influential officials within the PIC, Treasury and politics that want to collapse the PIC bill.”

Parliament has canvassed public opinions on the bill since 2017.

Allegations of impropriety at the PIC inquiry and internal upheavals took their toll on the corporation. In February, the PIC’s board of directors saw a slew of resignations after numerous damning allegations at the inquiry.

The outgoing board noted there had been “various allegations against at least four directors for now”.

“Our assessment is that this may not be the end,” stated a letter signed by several members, including chairperson and Deputy Finance Minister Mondli Gungubele.

“There is clearly a concerted effort to discredit the board of directors to an extent that there cannot be any credibility to the work that is executed in fulfilling its fiduciary duties.”

The directors said they viewed the allegations as an attempt to bring the institution “into a state of paralysis”.

“These events have been unbearable to us as individuals and have undoubtedly had a negative impact on our professional integrity,” the joint statement read.

The nine said they would remain as directors until Finance Minister Tito Mboweni appointed a new board, which they hoped would “be done on an urgent basis”.

On November 23, the board accepted the resignation of its CEO, Dr Daniel Matjila, with immediate effect.

Then, a week later, the board issued another statement following “allegations of impropriety that implicate two non-executive directors of the PIC board and the acting chief executive officer”.

The board held a special meeting on Tuesday, January 29, 2019, given the seriousness of the matter, according to the statement.

(Compiled by Gopolang Chawane, additional reporting by Amanda Watson)

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