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At the fiery AGM of the JSE two weeks ago, CEO Nicky Newton-King was tackled about why the state-owned Public Investment Corp (PIC) had invested in a number of shoddy companies that wanted to list on the stock market. "They’re the biggest investor in the country and they’re underwriting something vrot," said analyst Chris Logan. "It goes deeper than the public service, where they manage pension funds; we as taxpayers stand behind that. It’s a matter for everybody." Newton-King said it raised questions about whether large investors are doing enough to scrutinise their investments. "I’m sure the PIC is also looking at how to up its game," she said. The PIC certainly should be looking to do just that, given that it has managed to entangle itself in some very curious deals of late. It has sparked questions about whether the continent’s biggest pension pot has become a porous piggy bank for politically connected rent-seekers with an eye on its vast kitty. The PIC’s dubious deals include ...

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