Oversight of PIC is lacking
Questions mount over PIC’s black box
Revelations about its Isibaya fund show it must be far more discerning about the unlisted investments it chooses to back
Full marks to the Public Investment Corp (PIC) for once again releasing important details of its R69bn Isibaya Fund, which invests in unlisted companies. Besides disclosing the sums involved, this year the PIC went one step further and provided useful comments on the financial health and governance status of each of its 100-plus unlisted investments. It is entirely appropriate that these facts are disclosed, given that the Government Employees Pension Fund, which is the source of almost 90% of the R1.9 trillion the PIC manages, is guaranteed by taxpayers. The PIC says that Isibaya’s emphasis is on investments with a "developmental focus" — but that this focus is not at the expense of financial returns or governance. Isibaya "provides finance for projects that generate financial returns while also supporting positive [and] long-term economic, social and environmental outcomes".By this measure, it’s hard not to conclude Isibaya has been something of a failure. It’s not just that almos...