Fedusa General Secretary Dennis George said Fedusa welcomed the appointment by President Cyril Ramaphosa of a Commission of Inquiry into the PIC. File Photo: IOL

CAPE TOWN – The Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) on Thursday expressed concern about what it described as  persistent political intrusion into the operations of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) by politicians, who advance questionable allegations against the biggest asset manager in Africa.

Fedusa General Secretary Dennis George said on Thursday that Fedusa welcomed the appointment by President Cyril Ramaphosa of a Commission of Inquiry into allegations of impropriety at the fund manager, with a combined portfolio of more than R2 trillion in government pension and other funds and supported the six-month period to complete the investigation.

PIC chief executive, Dr Daniel Matjila, said on Wednesday that he was delighted about President Ramaphosa's appointment of a Commission of Inquiry into the PIC.

"We welcome the commission of an inquiry and hope that the outcome will be an improved governance which will sustain the good performance of the PIC. Out of this will emerge an even stronger organisation that serves its clients with excellence and the economic benefits of the investments are enjoyed by all South Africans," said Matjila.

George said Fedusa remains concerned that repeated allegations by anonymous individuals posing as “whistle blowers” regularly found traction in certain media organisations.

“An investigation by Advocate Geoff Budlender, that was commissioned by the PIC board earlier this year, has now found that no evidence could be placed before it to prove this, and a multitude of other allegations, against Matjila,” said George.

The FW de Klerk Foundation said the appointment of the Commission was an important affirmation of the President’s powers, as granted by the Constitution.

The Foundation said it welcomed, with cautious optimism, President Ramaphosa’s appointment of a Commission of Inquiry into alleged impropriety at the PIC. “The PIC Commission, chaired by well-respected retired Judge Lex Mpati, with the assistance of former Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus, and businessman Emmanuel Lediga, is a welcome development. However, this is only the beginning of a set of reforms ushered in by President Cyril Ramaphosa. Much more still needs to be done with regard to fixing other institutions of State.” 

The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) also welcomed the announcement by President Ramaphosa to institute the commission of inquiry.

“As the largest asset manager in the continent, PIC should understand the significance of its existence to the livelihood of public servants and their families, and as such its governance and investment decisions should be above board at all times,” Denosa said in a statement

Fedusa called for the appointment of independent non-executive worker directors to serve on the PIC board “in order to strengthen corporate governance, to promote representation from organised labour and to combat any forms of impropriety and attempts to wrongfully influence investment decisions”.