The judicial inquiry into the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), gazetted by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday, is to be welcomed. However, it is clear that it will be very limited. Ever since 1999, when the PIC took a decision to invest a portion — now 10% of its portfolio, which has a value of R2-trillion — of its funds in private ventures, there has been talk of political favouritism in deal selection and corruption. Part of the PIC’s mandate for these investments, which it derives from its biggest client, the Government Employees Pension Fund, is to promote transformation of the economy and development that benefits ordinary people. Given the symbiotic relationship between BEE and political influence, it is not surprising that the PIC has repeatedly found itself in the hot seat, adjudicating investment bids from competing groups of politically connected entrepreneurs or in some cases people who are known proxies for politically powerful people. The PIC in this time has al...

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