EFF STATEMENT ON WORKERS’ GENUINE CONCERN ABOUT THE DIRECTION OF THE PIC.
Friday, September 22, 2017
The Economic Freedom Fighters notes the genuine concerns of workers’ organizations, the Congress of South Africa’s Trade Unions (COSATU) and the Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) over the direction of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) under the current political leadership. The PIC is the sole asset management company that is mandated with managing the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), the Unemployment Insurance Fund and the Compensation Commissioner Pension Fund.
Since the arrival Malusi Gigaba as a Gupta deployed Minister of Finance and Sfiso Buthelezi as Deputy Minister and Chairperson of the PIC Board, there are constant attempts to redirect the funds under PIC’s management into bailing out failing State institutions and into illegitimate deals. When presenting a weak and lousy recovery plan of the badly governed South African Airways, Malusi Gigaba illustrated that he will source R6 billion from the PIC. When considering to dispose of the State’s assets in Telkom, Malusi Gigaba approached the PIC to purchase these despite the fact that this is not in the investment mandate and policy of the PIC.
As part of these attempts to capture the PIC, the recently appointed Deputy Chairperson of the PIC, Xolani Mkhwanazi has been at the forefront of a witch hunt against the PIC Chief Executive Officer Daniel Matjila. The State Security Agency, though Minister of Intelligence has been hounding the PIC CEO with the intention of removing him from the Corporation and replace him with a puppet who will steal workers’ pension funds.
As a genuine and well-intentioned reaction, COSATU said on the 20th of September 2017 that “the Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba must be stripped off all the unilateral powers that allow him to appoint board members of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), with immediate effect”. This is a genuine call, which must be supported by all sensible South Africans because Malusi Gigaba has demonstrated an insatiable appetite to invade and wreck the PIC in the same he did with TRANSNET, ESKOM and DENEL when he was Minister of Public Enterprises. Workers’ silence in those State-Owned Companies led to their total capture by the Guptas and ruin to almost the point of no return.
On the 21st of October 2017, FEDUSA said they intend to withdraw their workers’ pension from the PIC because “There is nothing in the law that requires the Government Employee Pension Fund to use only the PIC as an asset manager”. This FEDUSA correctly says because they are concerned and worried of Malusi Gigaba’s insatiable appetite to raid the PIC for narrow purposes. PIC, as an asset management company, carries an obligation to prudently manage workers’ pensions because it is possible that these could be destroyed and completely exhausted if left to greedy politicians who fail to usher in fiscal stability and stabilize State Owned Companies.
The EFF understands the concerns of workers and fully supports that workers should be represented in the Governance of the PIC. Section 6 (2) of the Public Investment Corporation Act says, “the Minister must when appointing the board, have due regard to the nominations submitted to him or her by the depositors”. The depositors in this regard are workers who are represented by COSATU and FEDUSA, who have genuine and correct concerns about the direction of the PIC.
The EFF calls on both COSATU and FEDUSA to demand fair representation on the Board of the PIC so that they have a sound voice on how their members’ pension funds are prudently managed. Diverting the funds from the PIC will subject these pension funds to greedy and largely untransformed pension fund managers, who are already managing Trillions of Rands to the exclusion of black people, and particularly Africans. Instead of diverting the exclusive PIC mandate, FEDUSA and COSATU should demand fair representation in the management of their pension funds.
The EFF makes this call because thus far, the PIC has been prudently managing public servants pension funds and driving key developmental and transformational objectives. The EFF has written to the Standing Committee on Finance to specifically discuss the mandate, scope, and protection of the PIC, considering the insatiable appetite to invade it for nefarious and short-sighted intentions by National Treasury under Malusi Gigaba. In these discussions, the EFF will specifically request that SCOF allows FEDUSA, COSATU and all depositors’ representatives to make substantial submissions on how the PIC should prudently manage their funds.
The captured government of Jacob Zuma, which has handed over SOCs to the Guptas, exhausted government reserves, reached a debt ceiling and eroding the tax base should never be allowed to invade pensions of workers. Workers’ pensions are their delayed incomes which insulate them from absolute poverty after retiring from work. Including workers in the management of their funds will be a decisive step towards insulation of their pensions from a greedy and incapable government.
Statement issued by the Economic Freedom Fighters, 23 September 2017