Ann Crotty Writer-at-large

The Public Investment Corporation (PIC), which manages about R1.8-trillion in funds for government employees, has voted against giving the board of British American Tobacco (BAT) the authority to make donations to political organisations and to incur political expenditure. The PIC expressed concern about the ethics of tobacco companies making political donations because of the general trend for governments to increase "sin taxes" and create designated smoking areas. "It is the PIC’s view that this may pose an ethical dilemma for the company as sponsoring political parties could lead to governments being lenient on antitobacco laws." The BAT resolution was one of 89 resolutions the PIC voted against in the three months to end-July. The PIC, the largest single investor on the JSE, attended 58 shareholder meetings and voted on 991 resolutions in the period. It voted in favour of 902 resolutions. On no occasion did the PIC’s vote against a resolution result in that resolution not being ...

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