First Time for PIC as Top Africa Money Manager Details Holdings

  • Isibaya Fund has made investments totaling 44.6 billion rand
  • Fund invested in AfriSam, Independent Media, VBS Mutual Bank

Public Investment Corp., Africa’s biggest fund manager, has for the first time detailed its holdings in closely-held companies following a campaign by South African opposition, the Democratic Alliance, to make the investor more transparent in its dealings.

PIC, which oversees 1.9 trillion rand ($136 billion), most of which is made up of South African government employees pensions, used its Isibaya Fund to make investments totaling 44.6 billion rand in unlisted companies, Mcebisi Jonas, the deputy minister of finance and chairman of the PIC, told lawmakers in Cape Town on Tuesday. 

“It took a long time to release the list because we had to get proper legal authority that we were not breaking any confidences with the companies we had invested in,” he said.

PIC committed to invest as much as 13.4 billion rand in cement producer AfriSam Group (Pty) Ltd. and has investments in Independent Media totaling more than 1.2 billion rand, the Pretoria-based company said in a separate e-mailed statement. It also has stakes in the Industrial Development Corp., Bayport Management Ltd., property company Pareto Ltd., a unit of the Royal Bafokeng Holdings Pty Ltd. and VBS Mutual Bank, the lender that gave President Jacob Zuma a 7.81 million-rand mortgage to pay for non-security-related features at his private Nkandla residence.

PIC made the disclosures to the Standing Committee on Finance “to demonstrate its commitment to transparency as a public institution,” the company said. “The PIC cannot have an investment approach based purely on short-term benchmarks with little focus on economic growth” and the Isibaya Fund allows the money manager the chance to try generate returns, while also pursuing developmental objectives, it said.

— With assistance by Renee Bonorchis

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