Tensions wave Masilela g’bye

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The Public Investment Corporation may be presently keeping the reasons mum, but insiders say the fund stands without a permanent chief executive officer because of ongoing political tensions with the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF).

The PIC announced on Friday Elias Masilela decided to leave the corporation with effect from June 30, but wouldn’t even wait that long as he was taking all his outstanding leave “with immediate effect”.

The PIC released a very short statement on Friday, which did not provide any reasons for his surprise resignation. The PIC also did not want to answer any questions on the issue.

But Business spoke to an informed source, which affirmed that all is not well within the PIC due to political tension between the PIC and GEPF.

Sunday newspapers suggested Masilela’s sudden departure was because he didn’t get on with the new Finance Minister, Nhlanhla Nene.

This was shot down, with sources suggesting the time frame was too soon – and that Nene could never have brought influence to bear so quickly.

In the mean time, Matshepo More had been appointed acting CEO in Masilela’s place.

Reuters reports the PIC invests on behalf of the GEPF and needs to adhere to the funds mandate.

One example frequently highlighted as a possible politically motivated investment is the PIC’s R500 million financing of Sekunjalo’s acquisition of Independent Newspapers.

The office of Nhlanhla Nene, the new Minister of Finance, has declined to comment on this issue.

Nene is also the chairperson of the PIC.

The Minister of Finance has the authority to appoint the PIC CEO. In its statement, the PIC said Masilela held the position since February 2011.

In his tenure, Masilela has also tried to use the PIC to pursue a development agenda in Africa.

Masilela is a member of UN Global Compact and remains a Commissioner of the National Planning Committee responsible for formulating the National Development Plan (NDP).

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