The pension fund responsible for managing the savings of government employees has written off two of its most controversial investments at a cost of R5.3bn. The Government Employees Pension Fund’s (GEPF) R4.3bn investment in Steinhoff’s empowerment shareholder, Lancaster, which is partially owned by Pepkor Holdings chair Jayendra Naidoo, was rendered worthless after the 2017 accounting scandal wiped off about R200bn of the furniture retailer’s value. The GEPF also wrote off about R1bn of loans and investments in companies controlled by Iqbal Surve, the owner of Independent Media, the publisher of The Star newspaper. The fund, which has assets of about R1.8-trillion, had R7.4bn in impairments for the 2017/18 financial year, compared with R995m the previous year, according to its annual report tabled in parliament on Monday. Lancaster 101 became Steinhoff’s strategic black empowerment partner after the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) loaned R9.35bn to Lancaster in 2016 to acquire ...

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