Workers finally represented on PIC board – unions


For the first time in its 108-year existence workers are now represented on the PIC board.

Labour federation Cosatu has welcomed this as a victory for workers. Treasury on Wednesday announced the appointment of an interim board at the asset manager which oversees R2trn in state funds. The previous nine-member board resigned in February this year. At the time, there were allegations of four of its directors affecting public perception of the integrity of the board.

The 15-person board includes general secretaries of three unions. They are Zola Sapetha of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union, Mugwena Maluleke of the South African Democratic Teachers Union and Ivan Fredericks of the Public Servants Association.

"The PIC belongs to the workers," Cosatu's Parliamentary coordinator Matthew Parks said in a statement.

"The mandate of the worker representatives is to protect workers' monies, to ensure a healthy return on their investments, to invest funds in ways which promote job creation and the socio-economic development of the nation," he added.

Parks also expressed concern over the appointment of some business people on the board – this includes former Absa CEO Maria Ramos. Parks also noted that Deputy Finance Minister David Masondo was not named chairperson of the board. The PIC Amendment Bill, adopted by the National Assembly in February this year allows for the deputy finance minister or any deputy minister in the economic cluster to chair the PIC board.

Cosatu is opposed to having an independent chairperson of the board. 

The Public Servants Association issued its own statement, welcoming the inclusion of labour on the board. "This move also allows for labour to be the vanguard of public servants' pension money and how it is invested."

The Black Management Forum (BMF) also issued a statement noting that the appointment of an interim board comes at a critical time when stability at the organisation is needed.

"We hope that the interim board will lead the PIC back to its glory days and shape that organisation into one of the best asset managers in the world," the BMF said.

The BMF aso called for the permanent board to have a generational and gender balance.

"We appeal to the Minister (Tito Mboweni) to be cognizant of the need to 'pass the baton' on to young people as the future leaders of our country," the BMF said.

In the meantime the PIC commission of inquiry led by Justice Lex Mpati has heard from over 70 witnesses including former CEO Dan Matjila. The former boss has told the commission his removal from the board in late 2018 was politically motivated and that he ran into problems when former deputy finance minister Mondli Gungubele was appointed board chairperson.

He described the PIC board as being divided and told the commission Gungubele used the divided state of the board to drive Matjila's suspension and eventual removal.

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