Parliament sets up task team to deal with protesting pensioners' demands

2015-10-15 22:00
(Jenni Evans, News24)

(Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town - Parliament has set up a task team to deal with the demands of pensioners who set up camp outside the institution.

About 200 pensioners from the Eastern Cape set up camp outside Parliament on Wednesday, vowing to sleep there until they are paid pensions they say they are owed from apartheid-era rail companies.

The protesters are mostly former employees of the Ciskei Transport Corporation, and demand that Parliament help them with their wages, Unemployment Insurance Fund and pension claims.

At a press conference in Parliament on Thursday, Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertaking chairperson Kgoshi Thobejane said the task team had a month and a half to finalise work into the demands.

"We tried to say to them within a period of three months the issue might be sorted out and whoever is owed might be paid, but to them, three months is too long and they want the money yesterday [Wednesday]."

Acting Parliament secretary Masibulele Xaso said the task team would have delegations from Transnet, who might have dealt with some elements of the case.

"National treasurer will also bring on the Financial Services Board to the process. That is what we have been able to agree on."

Xaso said they hoped the protesters would agree on November for work to be finalised. In preparation for that, Parliament has been in talks with the transport department to organise transport back to the Eastern Cape for the pensioners.

In the meantime, social services have been feeding the pensioners and providing blankets. Parliament said they had refused offers of accommodation.

While the pensioners, who came in eight buses, claimed they were owed up to R6m each, Thobejane said they did not know exactly who was owed how much and that would be part of the task team's work.

In a statement late on Thursday, Parliament said the leaders of the protesters had since called off their action following discussions that the task team would conclude its work by November 30.

Read more on:    cape town  |  parliament 2015

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