Parliament’s public money watchdog, Scopa, has grilled the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) about the secrecy surrounding a R5 billion that the PIC recently granted Eskom, as the power utility struggles to keep the lights on and implements load shedding.

The PIC board and management appeared before Scopa until the early hours of  Friday morning. The PIC handles about R1,8 trillion in government pensions.

ANC member of Scopa Nyami Booi asked its leaders about the loan to Eskom, “You give them five billion underground. Nobody knows it in the country. Nobody has spoken to that,- that we gave Eskom five billion. Because now everybody is looking in the roof and say there is load shedding because Eskom does not have the money. But PIC gave Eskom five billion just recently. What happened to the money. What are they buying,- peanuts? And they even write there, – please you’ll deal with the media to keep the secret. What type of an organisation is that? And what type of a relationship is that? Because people must be able to say we invested in this thing with our pension,- we can’t be going to load shedding.”

Meanwhile, PIC Acting CEO and CFO Matshepo More disputed that the loan agreement with Eskom was kept a secret.

He says, “In our view we didn’t do it underground, we even when we did it if my memory serves me well, we even went to the client to highlight to the client that we are about to engage in this transaction. We seek their blessing for it. And I would go back to say I think one of the key things as an institution we need to reflect on how we communicate. But we didn’t see this thing as a secret to us.”