SOUTH AFRICA – South Africa has appointed Mr Abel Moffat Sithole as the new chief executive of state-owned asset manager the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), the country’s finance ministry said in a statement.
PIC is the largest asset manager in Africa with more than 2 trillion rand (US$114.91 billion) of assets. It owns more than a tenth of the companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).
“Cabinet has approved that the Board of Directors of the PIC proceeds with the appointment of Mr Abel Moffat Sithole as the CEO of the PIC and Executive Director on the Board of Directors for a period of five years,” the statement said.
“We wish him well in leading the organisation and in restoring its integrity”, said Tito Mboweni, South African Finance Minister, officially welcoming Abel Moffat Sithole on 27 May.
Sithole’s appointment comes more than a year after the previous acting CEO, Matshepo More, was suspended on allegations of interfering in an inquiry into mismanagement of funds at the asset manager by its executives.
PIC, whose largest client is the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), has been mired in controversy for several years due to alleged mismanagement of public money, irresponsible investment decisions and misuse of funds by previous executives.
The allegations forced its former permanent CEO Dan Matjila to resign in November 2018.
The new CEO, who is currently Principal Executive Officer of the GEPF, will replace acting chief executive Vuyani Hako, the finance ministry said. It did not specify when Sithole will start his new role.
The 57-year-old has been told that his number one priority for his next five years in office will be to restore the image of an institution tainted by several accusations of political interference during Jacob Zuma’s presidency, as acknowledged by a report of a judicial commission of inquiry published on 12 March 2020.
He will also have to define a new investment strategy and restore confidence after the PIC was left without a managing director since Dan Matjila’s resignation eighteen months ago.
Sithole was chosen from among 200 candidates to head a company that holds direct and indirect interests in a myriad of large pan-African and international groups.
Abel Sithole is familiar with the institution since he has headed the South African Public Servants Pension Fund (GEPF) since July 2015.
The latter is one of the largest pension funds in the world with US$103bn in reserves for 1.2m active members and represents 87% of the funds managed by PIC.
The entity has also entrusted some of its funds to investors such as Blackrock Advisors UK Ltd (US$5.6bn at the end of March 2019), JP Morgan (US$331m) and Goldman Sachs (US$168m).