Politics ensnares South Africa’s biggest asset manager

news of the economy

Matjila, survivor

THE rot in South African politics, which has eaten away at state companies, is spreading. This week McKinsey, a consultancy, apologised for the “distress” it had caused the South African people. Political mud had already drowned Bell Pottinger, a British public-relations firm, and forced resignations at KPMG, an auditor. So the shenanigans at the government-owned Public Investment Corporation (PIC), have set off alarm bells. One concern is an apparent attempt to oust Dan Matjila, its boss. A linked worry is whether PIC funds will be used to prop up state businesses.

The PIC is a lucrative prize: it is Africa’s largest money manager, controlling 1.9trn rand ($140bn) of assets, mostly the pensions of state employees, and holding 11% of shares in South Africa’s biggest 25 companies. So anonymous allegations against Mr Matjila, including the claim that he had misdirected funds to his girlfriend’s business, naturally provoked a furore. On…

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