Commission of Enquiry into PIC welcomed – COSATU

Federation dismayed that govt did not bother to consult workers on commission’s terms of reference

COSATU statement on the President’s appointment of a Commission of Enquiry into the PIC

20 August 2018  

COSATU notes and welcomes the President’s appointment of a Commission of Enquiry into the PIC.  Our support is based upon welcoming any efforts to combat corruption and protect worker retirement savings.

COSATU however is dismayed that once again government did not bother to consult workers on the commission’s terms of reference.  Government seems to be clueless that the PIC is composed of worker’s hard earned wages.  About 87% of the PIC’s money is public servants’ pensions and 6% is workers’ unemployment insurance.  The remainder is workers’ injury on duty insurance.  The sooner that government realises that the PIC money is not some sort of petty cash to bail out SOEs brought to the brink of collapse by corruption politicians and reckless and crooked CEOs the better.

We are deeply concerned and infuriated that Parliament may now delay passing the PIC Amendment Bill until the commission has completed its work.  This defies all logic and most of these commissions take years to complete their work and hardly tell us what we do not already know.  Neither can government tell us how many persons are sitting in prison or how many billions of Rands of stolen taxes have been recovered from the myriad of commissions that government is seemingly addicted to.  In fact, it seems it is only the commissioners who benefit from the millions spent investigating the obvious.

COSATU is insisting that Parliament complete its work, pass the PIC Amendment Bill before the end of this parliamentary term at the end of November 2018. This should happen without further interference, meddling or undermining by government on this critical bill.  Parliament must not outsource its constitutionally binding legislative mandate to commissions or government.  Government equally must respect the independence of the legislature and stop attempting to collapse the PIC Amendment Bill.

The PIC Amendment Bill is a committee bill and not a departmental bill and it was mandated by the National Assembly.  It is one of the most important pro-worker bills of this parliament and since 1994.  It will be a critical tool in the fight against corruption and to defend workers’ monies.  Parliament has done extensive work on the bill for the past year.  The bill provides for:

- Compulsory public service union representation on the PIC Board.  These representatives will be selected by unions at the PSCBC and not by government.

- A clear developmental investment mandate for PIC investments that will protect and grow workers’ investments and support local economic growth and job creation.

- Mandatory accountability and transparency for all PIC investments, regulations and ministerial directives to Parliament, government, the public, workers and depositors eg. the GEPF, UIF etc.

Parliament must not betray the trust workers have placed in it.  COSATU insists that Parliament must do its work and pass this historic PIC Amendment Bill in this parliamentary term.  Nothing less than that will be acceptable.  Any attempt by government to stop it or fiddle with it will poison relations between workers and the people who are suppose to represent them.

Issued by Matthews Parks, Parliamentary Coordinator, COSATU, 20 August 2018