Solidarity strongly condemned the statements regarding the pension funds and prescribed assets of Ministers Mboweni and Gordhan during press conferences. These Ministers have stated on two separate occasions regarding the budget speech that they are in favour of a plan where pension funds are used to fund struggling state-owned enterprises. Minister Mboweni even stated that private pension funds should also be used and not just the state pension fund.
“Such statements by a government official are absolutely careless. It causes panic among all workers who will not sit back and look how their savings are being thrown into mismanaged state institutions. There is no responsibility and the easy option now is pensions,” said Dr Dirk Hermann, Chief Executive Officer of Solidarity.
“Pension money is holy money – it is a lifetime’s savings. If you loot this money, you are stealing from someone’s old age. It is morally wrong, and we will fight it with everything in our power,” added Hermann.
The plan to use state pension funds to relieve Eskom’s debt burden was initially proposed by Cosatu. Minister Mboweni’s additional plan that all pensions, rather than just the state pension fund should be used for this, is nothing but prescribed assets as used by the Apartheid government during that time.
“If the government wants pension funds to invest in state owned enterprises, the solution is simple. Make state owned enterprises attractive investments. Then people will stand in ques to invest and you do not have to force them into legislation,” stated Hermann.
“Although hijacking of pensions is a major concern, nothing tangible has yet been offered by government. Careless statements are made, but it is never committed to any plan. This indicates a government that desperately hope that we will seize to resist so that they can strike. We dare not lie down. Unfortunately for them, Solidarity is quick-witted in our strategy to fight the hijacking of pensions. We have positioned ourselves squarely between the government and your savings and we are not going anywhere,” said Hermann.
“In order to better highlight the hijacking of pensions and to discuss following action steps, Solidarity will host a blitz seminar on the hijacking of pensions on Tuesday, 3 March at XX:XX (VUL TYD IN). We will discuss at this seminar what the government may and may not do, and more importantly, what we can do to stop this frenzy,” explained Hermann.
“We cannot allow the ANC to steal our future to pay for their past. And, as long as we exist, we cannot allow South Africa to go down the same route as Zimbabwe,” concluded Hermann.