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Terms of reference for PIC inquiry gazetted

In terms of the proclamation signed by President Cyril Ramaphosa, the inquiry will be headed by Justice Lex Mpati, the former president of the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Picture: pic.gov.za

CAPE TOWN - The terms of reference for a commission of inquiry into allegations of impropriety at the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) have been published in the Government Gazette.

In terms of the proclamation signed by President Cyril Ramaphosa, the inquiry will be headed by Justice Lex Mpati, the former president of the Supreme Court of Appeal.

He will be assisted by former Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus and businessman Emmanuel Lediga, founder of the first black-owned stockbroking company in the country.

This inquiry is separate to the investigation the PIC board ordered into allegations against PIC chief executive officer Dan Matjila and is much more far-reaching.

Former Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene got Ramaphosa’s consent for the inquiry in August.

The proclamation says the PIC, which manages around R2 trillion in assets, including government employees’ pensions has to be managed according to the highest standard of ethics, integrity and efficiency so that its governance and investment decisions are beyond reproach.

It says persistent and negative reports about alleged improprieties linked to PIC investments, the conduct of past and present office-bearers and staff and the functioning of its board have given rise to negative perceptions about the state-owned asset manager – and that they must be investigated.

Detailing extensive terms of reference, the proclamation says the failure of the PIC or any significant investments for the government employees’ pension fund, would expose the government to “significant financial vulnerability”.

The commission is required to give Ramaphosa an interim report by 15 February 2019 and submit its final report and recommendations by 15 April 2019.

While it’s been asked to focus on the period 1 January 2015 to 31 August 2018, the commission is expressly allowed to investigate, make findings and recommendations on any other PIC-related matter, on condition the deadlines for the inquiry’s interim and final reports are still met.

Meanwhile, the United Democratic Movement (UDM) has welcomed the president's announcement of the appointment of Mpati as the head of the PIC inquiry.

The party says the pension funds of past and present government employees should be protected from the ruthless sharks that are eating away at their financial futures.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa says: "The UDM welcomes the announcement of the team that is going to investigate the PIC. [I've] just browsed through their terms of reference and they are wide enough to dig deeper into the rot."

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)