There is an almighty war brewing between the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) and several structures of government, after the ANC confirmed that they were considering taking money from the pensions of government employees to plug the enormous sinkhole of debt that has swallowed Eskom.
ANC “pension raid” put under the spotlight
Speaking at a lunch in Cape Town on Tuesday, Pravin Gordhan said that such a move would protect against job losses. It’d likely see the considerable portfolios managed by the PIC make large contributions to Eskom’s R450 billion debt bill – an investment mandate provided to the PIC on behalf of pensioners.
Since this bombshell dropped, the PIC themselves have reacted furiously. They are upset because, in their words, “no-one has consulted them” about this alleged plot.
Ramaphosa labelled “a bully” for PIC plans
Geordin Hill Lewis is the shadow minister of finance. He has called the actions of the government – and particularly, Cyril Ramaphosa – “shameful”, accusing him of bullying the PIC into accepting this contentious pension proposal. According to the DA representative, the president’s office has become “defunct”:
“It would be shameful for the President to offer any support to a plan to use pensioners’ money to pay for the ANC’s mismanagement of Eskom. The PIC says no one – neither Cosatu, the President nor Pravin Gordhan – has spoken to them about this plan. Cosatu’s claim that there is a consensus in support of the plan is a lie.”
“That Ramaphosa is taking the lead from Cosatu, instead of driving the real reforms necessary to save Eskom and solve the power crisis, shows how defunct his Presidency has become… Cyril has decided to raid the pensions of hardworking South Africans to pour into the Eskom black hole with no hope of a return.” Geordin Hill-Lewis
The PIC are yet to formally reject the plan, despite their protestations about being kept in the dark. The decision to gamble state pensions on a spin at Eskom’s roulette table is not something South Africans will take lightly, and with a bailout figure of R250 billion proposed, it could seriously ruin the lives of thousands of families if it all goes tits-up.