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The never-ending reality show that follows Public Investment Corporation CEO Dan Matjila has prevented SA from having a serious discussion about the role the asset manager for the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) can play in SA’s economic development. The PIC was established in 1911 to hold various public assets. Its assets did not grow much until the late 1980s when the apartheid rulers, fearing that a democratic government might not honour the pensions of public servants, switched from a pay-as-you-go system to a fully funded scheme. The transition was costly, as academic Fred Hendricks has written: "It led directly to a dramatic increase in national debt." The government issued bonds to the PIC to finance the transitional costs of shifting to a fully funded scheme. "The government was borrowing and lending to itself. The entire operation was artificially circular." In a pay-as-you-go system, the contributions of current employers and employees cover the pension benefits o...

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