Balance sought in latest draft of PIC Bill
Publish date: 11 February 2019
Issue Number: 810
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: South Africa
The differences between the ANC and the DA over the proposed Public Investment Corporation (PIC) Amendment Bill have narrowed now that the Finance Committee has softened its previous stance on how the PIC should invest. Both the committee and opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) MP David Maynier have proposed draft legislation aimed at strengthening corporate governance, accountability and transparency of the PIC. The DA’s Bill has been rejected by the ANC-dominated committee, which will now proceed with its own. The need to strengthen corporate governance, accountability and transparency has been highlighted over the past year by the revelation of suspect investments in which the PIC was involved, notes Business Day. The Finance Committee decided to proceed with its Bill despite the work of the commission because otherwise it would lapse with the termination of the current parliamentary term ahead of elections in May. It would then be up to the next Finance Committee on whether to revive it or not. The DA opposed the initial draft of the committee’s Bill which prescribed that in following the instructions of depositors the PIC would have to take several factors into account, among them securing the fund investment’s financial sustainability and security; creating and protecting local jobs; industrialising the economy, building the manufacturing sector and boosting exports and sustainable development. The DA opposed these prescriptions on the grounds that only the depositors could mandate the PIC what to do with their funds. In the latest version of the Bill – seen by committee chair Yunus Carrim as an attempt to seek a balance – the PIC must invest in projects that will benefit depositors and must act in accordance with their instructions while it 'must seek' to invest in projects that further the developmental objectives of the country.