This is surely the lowest point for the Public Investment Corporation (PIC). It has no board and swathes of its senior management are suspended amid corruption allegations. A commission of inquiry is sorting through the mess while pondering a plan for its future. The PIC is one of the 10 biggest pension fund managers in the world, the custodian of more than R2-trillion in assets and the biggest investor on the JSE. The core problem is that there is no consensus on what we want the PIC to be. As the government’s financial stress has grown, its role has become increasingly contested. The government has many liabilities and pensions to civil servants is just one. Why is it that pensioners — the Government Employees Pension Fund is the largest pot of assets that the PIC manages — get a pool of assets while the government has to scrabble around with increasing desperation to meet other liabilities like SA Airways, Denel and Eskom debt? Civil servants benefit from a defined benefit scheme...

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