THE national Treasury yesterday said it had nothing to do with a decision by the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) to advance a R5bn bridging facility to Eskom for one month. At the same time, trade unions representing government employees are pushing Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba to appoint union representatives to the PIC board to safeguard workers’ pension money.
The PIC, which manages the state employees’ pension fund and has R1.86 trillion in assets, is 100% owned by the government, with the Minister of Finance as shareholder representative. The loan announcement on Monday led to an outcry, with some observers attacking the PIC for risking pensioners’ money and others suspecting that Gigaba was likely to announce more bail-outs for Eskom in his budget.
Eskom is experiencing severe liquidity challenges. Treasury spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete said Gigaba was merely a shareholder representative and had nothing to do with the decision taken by the PIC CEO, Dan Matjila. The Public Servants Association (PSA) said it was disgusted and felt betrayed by the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) and PIC over the matter. “Our attempts to reason with the Finance Minister and the GEPF including PIC boards has come to naught,” Tahir Maepa, PSA spokesperson said.
Dennis George, the general secretary of Fedusa, said yesterday that they requested the Minister of Finance to appoint union representatives to the PIC board but the minister was yet to respond. “Fedusa was not briefed. The PIC acted alone and wrongly. It should have briefed us.”