The arduous task facing retired Judge Lex Mpati and his cochairperson, Gill Marcus (a former SA Reserve Bank governor) as they preside over the commission of inquiry into the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), is safeguarding the role of the PIC as a developmental investor while at the same time strengthening its governance structures and ethics protocols to avert lapses that may result in wrongdoing. Like any other asset manager, the PIC is expected to deliver investment returns as per the mandates of its clients: the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), the Unemployment Insurance Fund and other public sector clients. The GEPF, which accounts for 87% of the funds the PIC manages, is also its most important client, as it controls the pension savings of more than 1.2-million public servants and pays monthly retirement annuities to more than 400,000 retired government employees. At about R1.8-trillion in accumulated funds in March 2018, the sheer size of the GEPF positions it w...

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