Malusi Gigaba says no one is taking aim at PIC money. Here he inspects military weapons at Denel offices in Irene, Centurion in this 2012 file photo.    Picture: SOWETAN
Malusi Gigaba says no one is taking aim at PIC money. Here he inspects military weapons at Denel offices in Irene, Centurion in this 2012 file photo. Picture: SOWETAN

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has poured cold water over reports that National Treasury wants to use R100-billion of the funds in the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) to bail out State Owned Enterprises.

The PIC oversees the biggest fund in Africa‚ managing about R1.9-trillion in assets mainly belonging to the Government Employees Pension Fund.

PIC CEO Dan Matjila told Business Times that certain people wanted him removed so that they can have "easier" access to the R1.9-trillion the PIC controls.

Four weeks ago he rejected a request for a R6-billion loan for SAA from the chairwoman‚ Dudu Myeni‚ a close friend of President Jacob Zuma.

"For me the motivation is clear. To try and remove me‚" he said. "I’ve got the keys. They’re looking for the keys to the big safe." He claimed that his refusal to authorise certain transactions had upset "politically connected people".

Gigaba‚ via a statement issued on Monday by the Ministry of Finance‚ said reports circulating about the PIC being raided were not true. "No formal or informal request has been sent to the PIC for such funds‚" said the statement.

"Such untrue reports deviate attention from what is important — finding a long-term solution that will ensure that SOEs continue to contribute to our economic development without being a burden on the fiscus.

"The Minister has called an urgent meeting with the PIC board to deal with this matter and other pressing issues. More information on the meeting will be provided soon‚" said the statement.

Gigaba’s spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete told eNCA news the minister is taking the matter serriously. "If there is any proof of any request that person will be held accountable. Either way, heads are going to roll for this information," Tshwete said.

The Democratic Alliance said at the weekend that reports about a bailout for struggling state-owned enterprises‚ including R12-billion for South African Airways (SAA)‚ were disturbing.

DA deputy spokesman on finance Alf Lees said it was "deeply concerning that there is also allegedly a plot to remove the PIC’s current CEO‚ Dan Matjila‚ which was reportedly a greedy attempt by the Guptas to hijack the PIC and loot from the people of our country".

TimesLIVE

Please sign in or register to comment.