The Public Investment Corporation's chief executive, Dr Daniel Matjila. File picture: Dean Hutton

JOHANNESBURG - The Public Servants Association (PSA) is planning to interdict the annual general meeting (AGM) of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) scheduled for later this month.

The PSA wants the meeting censored to force the inclusion on the agenda of the representation of public sector unions on the PIC board. The meeting is scheduled to take place before the end of the year. PSA deputy general manager Tahir Maepa on Sunday said that the association was seeking legal advice to halt the meeting after it accused Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba of ignoring two letters to him.

“We demand a guarantee from the government that, in future, public sector unions will be represented on the board of the PIC and on the boards of companies in which the PIC has substantial investments,” Maepa said. “This finance minister (Gigaba) has demonstrated arrogance. We received no reply from the first letter we sent him, we then wrote to him again, giving him until Friday to respond. But he still ignored even the second communication.”

The PSA represents more than 230000 public sector employees. The PIC has nearly R2trillion of assets under management. In recent monthsit has been in the spotlight after allegations emerged that its chief executive Daniel Matjila was a targeted for removal to make way for a state capture lackey.

Public sector unions reacted by demanding representation on the PIC board and for the position of the chairperson to be depoliticised, denouncing the government’s position of the deputy finance minister being made the automatic chairperson of the board. The unions told Parliament’s standing committee on finance that they acknowledge that the minister and deputy minister needed to have a relationship with the PIC for a variety of reasons, including the fact that the pension of public sector workers is in the form of “defined benefit pension fund.” 

Former board chairperson and axed deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas went public on attempts to ensnare him in the state capture web. Maepa said the PSA was also concerned about a number of investments in unlisted companies. “Most of these companies in which state pension funds are invested are de facto ceded to the PIC, but without any oversight by the unions or, in some cases the PIC itself.”

The PIC last month published details of its unlisted assets portfolio, which grew 52percent to R67.89billion in the year to March, marking a tiny amount in its arsenal.

Gigaba’s spokesperson were not immediately available for comment. The PIC said it was waiting for the finalisation of the date of the meeting. In a communiqué released last month, Gigaba said that he noted calls by labour unions for a representative of labour on the PIC board and said he was considering this request and would arrange a meeting with labour stakeholders to discuss the matter further.

Meanwhile, Corruption Watch has sought permission from Gigaba and his deputy Sfiso Buthelezi to attend the PIC’s AGM in the interest of transparency.