The acting Secretary of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), Wilma Louw, says former Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan requested changes to the PIC’s memorandum of incorporation (MOI) six days before Malusi Gigaba succeeded him.
An MOI is a document that sets out the rules governing the conduct of a company, as specified by its owners.
Louw says Gigaba stopped the implementation of the requested changes, saying he wanted to familiarise himself with the operations of the PIC before allowing any changes.
Louw is testifying before the PIC Commission of Inquiry which kicked off on Monday in Pretoria.
“The PIC’s MOI was signed by the then shareholder representative, Mr Pravin Gordhan on 26 April 2013. Mr Gordhan requested changes to the PIC MOI in his letter, dated 24 March 2017 and signed the amended MOI. Mr Gigaba was appointed as the Minister of Finance on 30 March 2017, after which he requested the PIC board in his letter dated 19 April 2017 to ensure that the MOI signed by Gordhan on 30 March 2017 is not implemented,” says Louw.
Louw says there is nothing in the legislation that says the position of the PIC board chairperson should exclusively be held by the Deputy Minister of Finance.
She says the Deputy Minister of Finance appoints the board to represent the interests of the government employees who are the PIC’s most important client.
The PIC manages R2 trillion in government pension and other funds. The PIC Commission of Inquiry chaired by retired Supreme Court judge, Lex Mpati, is currently under way in Pretoria.
“The appointment of the Deputy Minister of Minister as chairman of the PIC board is based on the Government Employees’ Pension Fund, who is our biggest client and constitutes approximately 88% of the PIC funds under management is a defined benefit fund underwritten by government, with the Minister of Finance as the shareholder representative. (But there is nothing in the legislation is there that the chairman or chairperson of the board must be the deputy finance minister?) No commissioner, it’s not legislated,” says Louw.
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