Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) board members have pocketed hundreds of thousands of rands in board fees accumulated over the past eight months thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to IDC spokesperson Chimwemwe Mwanza, while four board meetings were scheduled to take place between January this year and August, the board held a total of 16 meetings at a fee of R22 000 per meeting for each member who attended.
“As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, risks that related to liquidity and capital management, risks in the IDC’s client portfolio, and the need to engage with funders of the corporation and ratings agencies necessitated additional meetings,” said Mwanza.
He added that many of the meetings had been requested by the IDC’s management.
Other developments that were unrelated to the pandemic had also necessitated extra meetings, as this was an unusual period not only for the IDC, but for corporations the world over, Mwanza explained.
He said the IDC board usually scheduled eight meetings a year, but the pandemic had necessitated the addition of several more.
“The board’s 16 meetings in the eight-month period consisted of the four scheduled ones, two others to support the IDC’s response to Covid-19 and challenges in the operating environment, and a further 10 meetings in support of subsidiaries and major investments,” said Mwanza.
“We wish to point out that the directors waived their fees for some of the unscheduled board meetings and teleconferences,” he explained.
“It would therefore be incorrect to assume that the board, acting in respect of its fiduciary responsibilities, abused IDC funds.”
When asked by City Press to provide attendance registers to calculate the waived fees, the IDC refused to hand over the records, stating it had provided enough information.
This week, the department of public enterprises appeared before the portfolio committee on public enterprises to brief it on progress made in addressing governance challenges facing state-owned enterprises.
The newly appointed director-general of the department, Kgathatso Tlhakudi, said it was their responsibility to ensure that the country’s seven major state-owned enterprises that fell under their jurisdiction were financially sustainable, adequately funded and operationally robust.
The committee heard that three of the seven entities – Denel, Safcol and Alexkor – had reported financial losses for the 2019/20 financial year.
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