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FF Plus lays charges against Transnet

2011-09-29 21:03

Johannesburg - The Freedom Front Plus laid charges against Transnet on Thursday for allegedly violating a parliamentary instruction to pay pensioners' increases, the party said.

Spokesperson Anton Alberts said Parliament had instructed that the Transnet Second Defined Benefit Pension Fund and the Transnet Pension Fund be supplemented by R1.9bn.

This was to ensure that bonuses and increases were paid to pensioners of the state-owned enterprise, Transnet.

Alberts said the National Treasury said it did not have the funds for this, but Transnet undertook to take care of the matter.

The money was to have come from the parastatal's budget.

CEO Brian Molefe was party to the decision in Parliament and had accepted it, said Alberts.

However, he contended that Molefe and Transnet did not pay the money and as such repudiated the decision made in Parliament.

"According to the FF Plus, this constitutes an offence in terms of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act, four of 2004," Alberts said.

"In terms of section seven(a) of this act, no person may improperly interfere with or impede the exercise or performance by Parliament or committees of its authority or functions. Section 27(1) stipulates that such an action constitutes an offence."

Civil case

According to FFPlus leader Pieter Mulder, Molefe had refused to allow the funds to be paid over.

Transnet wanted to pay the funds out of a pension surplus instead. The FF Plus disagreed with this.

The party was also considering a civil case against Transnet.

In a statement in July, Transnet said that following a meeting, it had decided to improve benefits for pensioners.

However, in trying to improve benefits, trustees would always consider whether the fund could afford it.

Transnet said the board believed there were solutions that would not weaken the future position of the fund, and had appointed a subcommittee to investigate.

The FF Plus said it knew there was a committee looking into the matter, but felt it was being delayed.

There was no certainty that an answer would be provided by the committee's deadline at the end of November.

"It appears that government and Transnet are purposefully stretching out this process in order that more pensioners die of old age or stress so that the problem basically resolves itself over time."

The charge had been laid at Sunnyside police station in Pretoria, said Warrant Officer Duane Lightfoot.