BUSA hails appointment of a career civil servant to head up PIC
CAPE TOWN – The appointment of a career civil servant in Abel Sithole, principal executive officer of the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), to the helm of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) has been hailed as an excellent move by Africa’s largest asset manager.
Business Unity SA (BUSA) president Sipho Pityana on Wednesday commended the PIC on Sithole’s appointment saying this is “exactly what we need to see in crucial state institutions like the PIC”.
Pityana said Sithole ticked all the right boxes in terms of competence and experience. “He clearly understands the role of the PIC from his time as principal executive officer of the GEPF – which is itself the PIC’s largest client.
“He is also deeply committed to ethical leadership and good governance and has done a sterling job at GEPF – including challenging some of the dodgy investment decisions made by the previous PIC leadership. This is to be commended and bodes well for the future of the institution,” he said.
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni announced the appointment on Wednesday saying Cabinet had approved that the board of directors of the PIC proceeds with Sithole’s appointment as chief executive and executive director on the board for a period of five years.
The PIC board welcomed Cabinet’s approval of its recommendation saying Sithole was a seasoned executive with extensive experience in the financial services industry. He has previously held senior positions in notable companies and served on board of several institutions.
Sithole holds Master of Arts in International Relations and Master of Philosophy in Futures Studies from the University of Stellenbosch, Master of Business Administration from the University of the Witwatersrand and Bachelor of Arts from Lawrence University in the United States of America. Sithole is a Fellow at the Institute of Life and Pension Advisors, a Chartered Financial Planner and a Member of the Institute of Directors Southern Africa.
The PIC said in a statement that Sithole would assume his duties PIC as soon as negotiations regarding his notice period had been concluded with his current employer.
Chairman of the interim PIC board Dr Reuel Khoza said Sithole’s appointment was a culmination of a lengthy, and thorough process that started immediately after the interim board took office.
“In terms of that process, the board established a task team from within its ranks to lead and oversee the search for the CEO. We are pleased with the outcome of the process and are looking forward to welcoming Sithole as the new CEO of the PIC,” he said.
Khoza said Sithole would be part of the process of expediting the urgent task of filling the vacant executive positions to ensure stability in the organisation and focus attention on delivering on clients’ mandates.
He said the board remained unequivocally committed to restoring both integrity and credibility to the PIC and believed Sithole would greatly contribute to this commitment. “The renewed PIC will be predicated upon professionalism, underpinned by high ethical standards.”
The SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) also welcomed Sithole’s appointment. The union said it hoped that with his vast experience, Sithole would be able to steer the PIC in the right direction and restore its reputation.
“When businessman Ruel Khoza was appointed as PIC Interim Board chairman in July last year, for the first time in the organisation’s history, representatives from labour were appointed as non-executive directors in the interim board. The board prioritised to fill the position of the CEO in order to ensure stability in the institution,” said the union.
The board expressed its appreciation to the acting CEO, Vuyani Hako, for having led the organisation at a time when it faced its most challenging period. Khoza said: “We wish Hako the best when he returns to his position as executive head of properties once the new CEO has assumed his duties. We have not doubt he will continue to serve the organisation with characteristic dedication and diligence.”
Pityana also expressed gratitude to Hako, for holding down the fort during turbulent times and preparing the ground for a process of full organisational reform. “South Africa really needs a strong and fully functional PIC as we navigate our way through the global and domestic economic crises and the challenges posed by Covid-19.
The PIC manages more than R2 trillion worth of assets on behalf of South Africa’s public servants. The Corporation was subjected to a commission of enquiry led by Justice Lex Mpati after allegations of impropriety at the Corporation came to the fore.
Former PIC CEO Dr Dan Matjila resigned in November 2018 after a fallout with the board.