There is arguably a national sense of “Commission of Inquiry fatigue” and not without good reason – skepticism – given the apparent Seriti Commission whitewash. Nonetheless, the PIC Commission of Inquiry will provide the nation with important information regarding the inner workings of the PIC. As with the State Capture Commission of Inquiry, which claimed the political career of former Minister Nhlanhla Nene, it is hoped that the PIC Commission will also ensure such heightened levels of accountability.

From media reports, it is apparent that constitutional principles meant to govern the public service were flouted with seeming impunity, such as the imperative to maintain a high standard of professional ethics. The PIC manages an estimated R2 trillion in assets, including government employees’ pensions. As such, it is vital that this public enterprise be above scruples. Its failure or any losses due to mismanagement and bad governance will be felt by the nation as a whole, with consequences for the health of South Africa’s constitutional democracy.

The PIC Commission, chaired by well-respected retired Judge Lex Mpati, with the assistance of former Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus, and businessman Emmanuel Lediga, is a welcome development. However, this is only the beginning of a set of reforms ushered in by President Cyril Ramaphosa. Much more still needs to be done with regard to fixing other institutions of State.

Issued by the FW de Klerk Foundation
18 October 2018