New amendments to ensure transparency of PIC investments

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Cape Town – National Assembly has passed a legislative proposal for amendments to the Public Investment Corporation Act to promote transparency and good governance at the investment manager.

The bill was brought before the National Assembly by the standing committee on finance (Scof) on Tuesday.

Scof member and African National Congress MP Thandi Tobias explained that the amendments ensure that no “conspicuous” investments can be hidden, as the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) will be required to table before Parliament the listed and unlisted investments through its annual report.

The bill also provides for labour unions to have a say in the investment of workers' money by having three labour representatives on the PIC board. The PIC is responsible for managing investments of the Government Employees Pension Fund.

Tobias also took aim at another version of the bill proposed by Democratic Alliance MP David Maynier in January 2018 as a private member’s bill. She called it a “smokescreen” to represent the interests of business at the expense of the working class.

Maynier objected to the bill, calling it a “carbon copy” of his private member’s bill. He said the bill proposed by the ANC was aimed at neutralising his bill to fend off any political advantage that may flow from the private member's bill. 

“What a pity when a good idea is neutralised when it comes from an opposition party in South Africa,” he remarked.

Economic Freedom Fighters MP Nazier Paulsen pledged his party's support for the amendment bill.

"The issue of transparency at the PIC is non-negotiable," he said. He also said those on the board should be “fit and proper”and have an understanding of the investment space to perform the duties of the PIC.

Inkatha Freedom Party MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa jumped in on the debate about the “author” of the bill. He said it is more important to get a qualitative bill as an end result, and that Maynier's ideas should be considered.

“Ultimately it is important to have transparency at the PIC and good governance at end of day. The PIC is a strategic vehicle for the SA economy.”

* Correction - This article was corrected at 09:00 on May 30 to indicate that a proposal for amendments was passed by the National Assembly. A previous version stated that the National Assembly passed the amendments.

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