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EXCLUSIVE: Some govt ministers seek to thwart PIC Amendment Bill

It is understood that African National Congress MPs in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) are being lobbied not to vote for it.

Picture: Investment Corporation. Picture: pic.gov.za

JOHANNESBURG - Eyewitness News has learnt of a concerted effort by some government ministers to thwart the passing of the PIC Amendment Bill.

The bill is meant to strengthen the accountability, transparency and corporate governance of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) following years of alleged suspicious investments.

It is understood that African National Congress MPs in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) are being lobbied not to vote for it.

The PIC is the continent's largest investment manager, with R2 trillion in assets which it manages on behalf of the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) and other institutions.

Sources have told EWN that the move comes as a shock, given what appears to be a desperate need for policy gaps to be filled at the PIC.

Parliament canvassed public opinions on the bill for over two years.

Cosatu parliamentary coordinator Matthew Parks says that any further delays compromise the already weakened institution.

"There has always been a covert campaign from some influential officials within the PIC, Treasury and politics that want to collapse the PIC bill."

The PIC has been rocked by allegations of corruption, with some of its investments questioned, while the commission into it chaired by Judge Lex Mpati has blown the lid on how procedures were flouted to approve loans for certain companies.

Among the interventions in the bill is a clause that will see all ministerial directives at the PIC and details of listed and unlisted investments tabled before Parliament.

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu dismissed the allegations that Members of Parliament were being lobbied.

"I'm not aware of any lobby."

The bill also made provision for the inclusion of at least three members of the PIC board to be from organised labour, with sources saying that these were some of the reasons it was facing a fightback.

The NCOP will conduct public hearings on the PIC bill on Tuesday.

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