Finance Minister Tito Mboweni. File Photo: Nokuthula Mbatha/African News Agency (ANA)

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni on Thursday met the newly-appointed interim board of directors at the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), charging them to focus on good corporate governance at the embattled asset manager and leave the political battles to him.

"You're gonna be attacked and criticised from time to time. They'll say [board member] Maria Ramos is this and that ... Do not worry about that. Leave the politics to me. Focus on corporate governance and that's what should happen. Thank you very much for accepting," Mboweni addressed the board members at the PIC offices in Menlyn, east of Pretoria.

"Cabinet wishes you well. They are very excited that you have accepted to play this role, and so my part is to bring you the good wishes from the President [Cyril Ramaphosa] and Cabinet. They have full confidence in all of you."

Earlier this month, Mboweni announced the new interim board. The election of the chair and the deputy chair of the board was on the agenda on Thursday.

Mboweni emphasised that, breaking from tradition, deputy finance minister or any Cabinet minister would not be chairing the PIC board. The finance minister was critical of the tradition.

"Why is it that the deputy minister of finance is not here to be elected as chairperson of the board of directors of the PIC? The answer is very simple. There is nothing in law that says the deputy minister of finance must be the chairperson. In my view, that was bad practice. It was bad practice because why only at the PIC? Why is the deputy minister of public enterprises not the chairperson of Eskom board of directors? Or the South African Airways?," Mboweni asked.

"Based on my experience of how boards of directors are supposed to operate, that was a bad decision."

The PIC - which manages more than R2 trillion in government employees' pension money and other statutory institutions - was rocked by an en-masse resignations of board members.

Former deputy finance minister Mondli Gungubele, who has previously chaired the PIC board, has been accused of complicity in corruption.

- African News Agency (ANA)