12 July 2019

South Africa: New PIC Interim Board - a Big Win for Workers, Trade Unions

analysis

The new Public Investment Corporation board features three trade unionists, a first for the fund manager. For many years, trade unions, incensed by rampant corruption allegations that have surfaced at companies that employ their members, have intensified their demands for worker representation on boards.

While much of the focus has been on the appointment of business heavyweights Maria Ramos, Dr. Reuel Khosa and Sindi Mabaso Koyana to the interim board of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), a closer look at its composition reveals something unprecedented about board appointments in South Africa.

Three individuals that have been appointed on the board by finance minister Tito Mboweni on Wednesday 10 July are unusual. They are Ivan Fredericks, Zola Saphetha and Mugwena Maluleke, who are all trade unionists at the Public Servants Association, National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union, and South African Democratic Teachers Union respectively.

Essentially, the PIC, the manager of about R2-trillion worth of state workers' pension funds on behalf of the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), will have worker representation on its board for the first time since its incorporation in 2003.

It's uncommon for board appointments to include worker representation not only at entities such as the PIC...

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