SA public servants union says concerns about PIC corruption vindicated

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s Public Servants Association, which represents government employees and pensioners, said on Monday the concerns it had previously raised about the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) had been vindicated by allegations of corruption and impropriety against the fund manager’s board and senior officials.

Last Friday the PIC board asked Finance Minister Tito Mboweni to relieve it of its duties, citing the destabilising impact of "events in the recent past", including allegations of impropriety levelled against at least four directors.

"The PSA has consistently stated that involvement of politicians and their business cronies in the running of the PIC was a disaster in the making," PSA general manager Ivan Fredericks said on Monday.

"The PSA appeals to the minister to listen to the PSA’s voice of reason and hope. The union may not be aligned to any political party but the distinction between us and his comrades is that the PSA is driven by ethical standards and a love for the country," Fredericks said.

He warned that Mboweni’s failure to include public worker representatives in the interim PIC board "will have far-reaching implications".

The association also urged the board of the Government Employees Pension Fund, which invests public workers’ pensions through the PIC, to act on the revelations from the ongoing inquiry into the asset manager.

"The PSA believes there is prima-facie evidence at hand to initiate legal proceedings against the PIC board that abrogated its fiduciary responsibilities," said the association.

It warned that if the GEPF board fails to act and recover the losses owing to the depreciation in share-price value, "the PSA will hold each one of them responsible for those losses".

The association said the GEPF should also join the international class action against Steinhoff International Holdings after it lost pension money invested by PIC in the retail giant when it was caught in an accounting scandal in December 2017.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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