/ 25 January 2019

Editorial: PIC wakes up at last

The successful candidate for the social justice reporting fellowship will pen pieces that go beyond statistics
Editorial: It’s dangerous to other foreigners (Photo Archive)

The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) executive for listed investments, Fidelis Madavo, was suspended just before he was to appear at the commission investigating the PIC and its investments. He still testified.

The PIC has a kitty of about R2-trillion in government workers’ pension money to invest. If it makes bad investments, the taxpayer ultimately suffers. So it matters that Madavo was suspended because of his involvement in the PIC’s R4.3-billion investment in AYO Technology Solutions, a company formed by Iqbal Survé, who also owns the Independent media group. The PIC said it had found irregularities in the AYO deal. AYO shares were said to be massively inflated in value when the PIC bought them. In December last year, Survé defaulted on the PIC’s earlier loan to him (worth more than R1-billion) to buy the Independent group in 2013. PIC assistant portfolio manager Victor Seanie was also suspended.

When we and other media, as well as media watchdog groups, questioned the PIC investment in Survé’s Independent purchase, we were vilified by the touchy Survé. And he caried on vilifying as his great project slowly crumbled. The PIC should have known from the Independent deal that further investment in a Survé enterprise was probably a bad idea.

Sorry, but we’d like to say to the PIC: “We told you so.”