Reuel Khoza appointed as interim PIC board chair

The first order of business for the new interim board of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) is to appoint a permanent chief executive, according to its freshly elected chairperson, Dr Reuel Khoza.

Khoza was elected the chair at the interim board’s first sitting earlier on Thursday.

“For the past few months we have had an impasse at the PIC; it has been an organisation that has not had a head. Our sense is that anybody that is in an acting position is not standing on firm ground and is unable to be decisive in things they execute,” Khoza said.

Vuyani Hako, the PIC’s head of properties was appointed as the asset managers acting chief executive in March following the suspension of Matshepo More over allegations of interference in an inquiry probing impropriety at the state asset manager.  More took over from Dan Matjila who abruptly stepped down in November last year after being implicated in, among other things, misconduct and corruption during his time as the PIC’s chief executive from 2014.

Khoza said that the board hopes to permanently fill the position of the chief executive within three to six months depending on the availability of the appointee.

The 69-year-old is currently Chairman of Dzana Investments and AKA Capital. He is also a former chairperson at Nedbank and energy company, Globelq and is also a director of several companies.

Sindi Mabaso-Koyana was elected as the deputy chairperson of the interim board. She is a qualified chartered accountant by profession with experience on a number of boards including Transnet, South African Airways (SAA), MTN and Altron.

The board also plans to rectify the image of Africa’s largest fund manager, which manages over R2-trillion worth of assets. The PIC’s questionable transactions are currently under scrutiny at the commission probing alleged impropriety and governance failures at the PIC, led by judge Lex Mpati.

“We’ll also strive to restore the PIC to its glory of the heydays when [it] was actually held in very high esteem, not only by its shareholder [but] by the public,”Khoza said.

Khoza and Mabaso-Koyana will lead a 15-member board which includes former Absa CEO, Maria Ramos,chief director of transformation policies at the department of public service and administration,  Barbara Watson and general secretary of the The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu)  Zola Sapetha.

The deputy finance minister who has traditionally been appointed as the chairperson of the board has been excluded from the list. Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni said this decision was taken following consultations with cabinet in order to fully corporitize the PIC.

Mboweni also referred to the PIC Amendment Bill, which has passed through both the national assembly and the national council of provinces and is sitting with the president for assent. The Bill proposes that the deputy minister of finance or any other minister in the economic cluster be named the chairperson of the PIC. But Mboweni described the practice of including a politician in the state asset manager’s board as a “bad practice” in terms of good corporate governance.

Prior to the Bill’s completion, Mboweni wrote to MPs, raising his concerns with the proposed law – particularly as the Mpati commission is tasked with, among other things, making recommendations on the governance structure of the PIC, once the hearings are complete.

The finance minister assured the board on Thursday that there would be no interference on the activities of the PIC from his office.

“The only regular consultations will be between the minister of finance and the chair of the board, I will not be attending your meetings,” he said. 

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