State provident fund mum on nationalisation

2011-09-10 12:01

Those waiting for Africa’s largest pension fund to state its views on nationalisation will have to keep waiting.

The Government Employees Provident Fund remains neutral on the question, Arthur Moloto, the chairperson of the fund’s board of trustees told City Press this week.

Instead, the fund would follow the debate and engage with people who had completed their research and formed opinions on the subject before taking a stance on the controversial issue, said Moloto.

The provident fund, by virtue of its size and reach, had been under pressure to say what it thought about nationalisation. It controlled assets worth R912 billion across various industries.

It had R118 billion invested in mining alone and R52 billion in the banking sector. It also held 10% of stock listed on the Johannesburg Security Exchange. It had 1.2 million government employees and 320 000 pensioners on its books.

The fund was a significant BEE financier and currently had exposure of R9.1 billion on empowerment deals.

The ANC Youth League, some ANC provincial structures and some Cosatu unions called for the nationalisation of mines and land presently owned by private individuals and companies.

The youth league wanted this to happen without the present owners being compensated while other organisations were not explicit about how the process should take place.

Mining magnate and South Africa’s wealthiest man Patrice Motsepe last week ended his neutrality, pronouncing nationalisation a bad idea. Absa chief executive Maria Ramos also poured cold water on the idea.

Though Moloto admitted the fund had not conducted studies to determine its future position he said the board had mandated the cautious approach.

“The position of the board has been a clear one: be proactive and make a meaningful contribution; engage with those with those who have done studies and have formulated opinions and then come up with what we think is the right solution,” said Moloto.

He also denied that the fund was stalling because it did not want to be on the wrong side of the outcome of an ANC position once the organisation revealed the findings of its study on whether nationalisation was feasible and, if it was, which practices were best.

“We cannot be reckless about this topic. We have to be cautious. Remember the state is the guarantor of this fund. If it goes belly-up we will have to go back to the public and the minister of finance,” said Moloto.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.