From the controversial funding of the purchase of Independent Newspapers to investing in an unknown offshore business, commentators have questioned whether some of the investment decisions that the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) undertakes have more to do with political expediency or due diligence.
But Daniel Matjila, PIC’s Chief Investment Officer (CIO), defended his organisation’s approach in a telephone interview with Transform SA. “We look at return and risk while we cannot overlook politics given our country’s history. For the most part, investment decisions are informed by mandate fit, an assessment of potential returns, understanding of the risk and ability to manage such and the environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) considerations,” he said.
There have been growing concerns that PIC, as the custodian of R1.4 trn, might be gambling with the public servants’ pension funds. “The organisation might have just too much money to burn and forgets that it is merely entrusted to manage funds not do as it wishes,” one commentator told Transform SA at a recent function.