Mcebisi Jonas cautions against PIC investment in shaky parastatals

Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas on Tuesday said the national treasury had cautioned the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) against investing in state-owned enterprises that were struggling to get their finances into order.

“We have not blacklisted any but we are saying that when they are on an uncertain footing due diligence has to be performed,” Jonas said after a briefing by the PIC to Parliament’s standing committee on finance.

The executive officer of the PIC, Dan Matjila, said the body concurred with the view that it could not risk putting funds into troubled parastatals and that all approached would have to be weighted carefully to see whether turnaround strategies were yielding results.

“Nobody can deny that there are huge problems with SOEs. We must refuse to invest if we don’t see progress.”

Responding to questions from Economic Freedom Fighters chief whip Floyd Shivambu, Matjila firmly denied that the PIC had invested in companies linked to the controversial Gupta family, the centre of a political storm since Jonas confirmed that they had sought to offer him the position of finance minister shortly before President Jacob Zuma axed Nhlanhla Nene from the post.

“We have no exposure to any of the companies. We can put that on the record,” Matjila said, adding that he had never met any members of the family.

Asked why the PIC had entertained dealings with Gazprombank, Russia’s third largest bank, and this was a precursor to government inking a nuclear power pact with Moscow, Matjila said the matter was no more than a document of understanding since the bank had looked into starting operations in South Africa. Jonas said it had not gone any further, however.

“It has not been acted on.”

The deputy minister refused to take any questions of his statement last month regarding the Guptas and the ministerial post. Committee chairman Yunus Carrim accused Democratic Alliance MP David Maynier of abusing the committee process by asking Jonas not about the PIC but demanding instead to know whether he had made a statement to the police about the meeting where the proposal was put to him.

Jonas laughed as MPs, from the opposition but also the ruling ANC, joked about the Guptas and their alleged political meddling in the meeting.


Shivambu also demanded to know how the PIC could have quadrupled its shares in Lonmin despite the political connotations of the Marikana shooting and the fact that there was no expectation that the platinum price would recover in the near future.

“We have saved quite a number of jobs. The market had responded positively,” Matjila answered. – African News Agency (ANA)

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertising

Safety at schools: ‘Keep your distance and your pen’

The department of basic education has developed guidelines to assist schools with minimising the spread of the coronavirus

‘Soon he’ll be seen as threatening, not cute’: What it’s...

There is no separating George Floyd’s killing from the struggles black people have faced ever since the first slave ships landed on these shores

How schools could work during Covid

Ahead of their opening, the basic education department has given schools three models to consider to ensure physical distancing
Advertising

Press Releases

Covid-19 and Back to School Webinar

If our educators can take care of themselves, they can take care of the children they teach

5G technology is the future

Besides a healthcare problem Covid-19 is also a data issue and 5G technology, with its lightning speed, can help to curb its spread

JTI off to court for tobacco ban: Government not listening to industry or consumers

The tobacco ban places 109 000 jobs and 179 000 wholesalers and retailers at risk — including the livelihood of emerging farmers

Holistic Financial Planning for Professionals Webinar

Our lives are constantly in flux, so it makes sense that your financial planning must be reviewed frequently — preferably on an annual basis

Undeterred by Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa hold hands, building a community of a shared future for mankind

It is clear that building a community with a shared future for all mankind has become a more pressing task than ever before

Wills, Estate Administration and Succession Planning Webinar

Capital Legacy has had no slowdown in lockdown regarding turnaround with clients, in storing or retrieving wills and in answering their questions

Call for Expression of Interest: Training supply and needs assessment to support the energy transition in South Africa

GIZ invites eligible and professional companies with local presence in South Africa to participate in this tender to support the energy transition

Obituary: Mohammed Tikly

His legacy will live on in the vision he shared for a brighter more socially just future, in which racism and discrimination are things of the past

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday