COSATU notes the National Parliament’s call for the PIC to appear before its Finance Committees on Tuesday, 02 June 2020 to speak on the PIC Commission of Enquiry’s Report. The PIC Commission’s Report and its recommendations are a matter of great importance to millions of public servants, workers, pensioners, and their families.
The federation hopes that the PIC will be able to inform Parliament on what concrete steps it has undertaken to address the serious allegations of brazen corruption and reckless mismanagement that was raised in the Commission.
These should not be limited to the few companies that the Commission investigated but in fact entail a comprehensive forensic audit of all 1,200 PIC investments, both listed and unlisted. This is workers’ hard-earned monies and they have a right to know that it is not being looted.
Parliament’s Finance Committees must revive the good work that was undertaken by the 5th Parliament into the wanton theft of workers’ pensions that was reported at Steinhoff and to hold the law enforcement agencies to account for their dismal failure to arrest 1 person or recover 1 Rand.
Parliament needs to summon the National Prosecuting Authority and the Financial Sector Conduct Authority to hear what steps they have taken to implement the Commission’s recommendations. The NPA has been painfully quiet for far too long.
COSATU is extremely dismayed by government’s failure to sign the PIC Amendment Bill into law more than a year after it was overwhelmingly passed by the 5th Parliament. This is inexcusable and is creating a constitutional crisis for the government. The Bill can only be sent back to Parliament if it is unconstitutional or if there was insufficient public consultation.
The PIC Amendment Bill is one of the most progressive anti-corruption and pro-worker bills since 1994. It compels:
· The PIC to account for all investments to its depositors, the public and Parliament. This is in line with the PFMA.
· It requires organised labour at the Public Service Bargaining Council to nominate 2 representatives from the majority unions and 1 from the minority unions. This is critical to ensuring workers have a voice in how their monies are spent and can expose nefarious activities. Worker representation is in line with the pension industry legal requirements.
· It requires the PIC to seek a mandate from its depositors, to ensure the sustainability of their investments and where possible to invest in a manner that promotes local economic growth, job creation, manufacturing and industrialisation, exports, economic infrastructure and sustainable development.
LaLastly, as the government is the guarantor for the PIC investments and must stand surety for it, the Bill provides for the Deputy Minister: Finance or another economic cluster DM to chair it.
There is clearly nothing unconstitutional about the Bill. Parliament had also gone out of its way to hold extensive public hearings on it, more than six in total. Yet despite this, the government has not signed the Bill nor given any explanation on its failure to do so.
Parliament should hold the executive to account in this regard. It will set dangerous unconstitutional precedence if the government can simply choose which bills to sign and which to ignore. Equally, it sends a signal that some in government may not be keen to allow all the skeletons in the PIC to come to light.
Lastly, COSATU trusts that Parliament will afford an opportunity for organised labour to raise its concerns with regards to the above matters.
Issued by COSATU
For further information please contact: COSATU Parliamentary Coordinator -082 785 0687