Politics ensnares South Africa’s biggest asset manager

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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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