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South Africa seeks probe into claims of irregularities at PIC

Daniel Matjila

South Africa's finance minister demanded an investigation into claims of irregularities at the state-owned Public Investment Corp. and asked for a list of all investments made by Africa's biggest money manager.

The move follows allegations made against Dan Matjila, the PIC's chief executive officer, and reports the government may seek to push the company to invest more in cash-strapped state enterprises. The PIC oversees the pensions of South African government workers and has more than 1.9 trillion rand ($140 billion) in assets.

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba "expects the list to detail the directors and shareholders of those companies," the ministry said in an emailed statement on Friday. "This will ensure that there is transparency, and further build confidence in the institution. The minister has given the CEO and the board two weeks to respond to this request."

The Pretoria-based PIC has become embroiled in the controversy around claims of mismanagement at state companies after the money manager was approached for funds to help support struggling institutions. Mr. Gigaba gave his backing to Mr. Matjila last month after the CEO was quoted in South Africa's Sunday Times saying individuals were trying to get access to the PIC's assets.

The minister "is concerned about the politicizing of the Public Investment Corp.," the ministry said. "While clarity has been given on the matter, the minister thought it would be important to support his statement with bold action."

The PIC turned down a request from the government to buy the state's stake in phone company Telkom SOC Ltd. to help bail out the national airline. It was also approached directly by South African Airways.

Mr. Gigaba is considering a call from state-worker labor unions for seats on the PIC's board, the ministry said.