There are many large Pension funds that see it is a responsibility to use the funds saved by their members to help grow the economy. These are the sentiments of Sanlams Elias Masilela, Chair of Sanlams board.

He was quick to add, that these investments should not be at the expense of the companies growth. It is going to be very interesting to see how this plays out. Most seem to be on board with the use of pension funds to help grow the economy, but have the mebers been asked how they feel about this? To the best of my knowledge, this is a very big negative. As South African’s we watch as the value of our hard earned retirement savings are eroded daily.

Large scale Infrastructure is about all there is that could add the badly needed stimulus in the SA economy. It is all about how these investments are managed. The Pension fund industry cannot simply invest in these projects without having oversight, it is just unclear at this point how they will ensure that there is no abuse of the tender system. I would not be happy to see my hard earned money end up in the hands of ANC appointees, managing Billion Rand projects.

Perhaps this is a turning point opportunity for South Africa. If the Investment community take an oversight role to ensure that their members savings do not end up in the wrong hands, it could provide a framework for future management of large scale Infrastructure projects using Tax payer money. Essentially there is little difference as to whose money this is, Tax payers are pension fund contributers. Lets take a second glance at that. Tax payers are already over burdend having to carry the majority of the population, and now their savings are going to be used to further prop up the economy. Before we blink, 50%, 60% or more of a tax payers money is being used in one way or another by the ANC Government.

Most Investment analysts, advisers and fund managers have been recommending investing off shore at all costs yet our pension funds are considering investing a big chunk of our savings in local projects. Magnus Heystek was once criticised for his views. “My recommendations to increase offshore exposure did not endear me with traditional SA -based asset managers and insurance companies. In fact, I endured a great deal of criticism for my views, some unprintable.”

It is true that markets are cyclical and will recover in long term, even local markets but what will the poor performance and corrupt Government have done to erode the value of our money anywhere but in SA. We could live well in SA if you consider living well being locked behind high walls and electric fences but having staff to clean your plates and make your beds. Have we been conning ourselves that there is a real future for us in South Africa.

I personally have 4 children who worked their butts off to qualify, 3 as accountants and one as a maritime logistician. Two have already left the country, the third is off as soon as he has finished his articles and the last is likely to make the move to a safer,  more rewarding country. Their value of the freedom to ride a bike to owrk, to walk in the parks on their own, to walk home after dinner at friend late at night has been a great freedom that were denied at home in SA. Are we going to let the ANC chase our children from their homes while a small group of their elite get fat. I feel cheated, Isn’t growing old about enjoying your family, having your Grand children around when you and watching them grow into beautiful individuals?

I went a bit off point there but this is a very emotional issue for me. I have great friends and the few remaining family members I enjoy tremendously.