Transnet vows to investigate claims of Gupta-linked Trillian hedging pension funds

Transnet has sworn to the bottom of the claim that Gupta-linked Trillian used the pension fund of the entity to cover deals for itself.

In a speech to Parliament's portfolio committee for public companies, the Transnet delegation also said that the entity's management was closer than before to a solution of unpaid resources, which made the truck carrier the subject of an important class action.

Members of the portfolio committee have received reports that some pensioners received only R140 per month from the fund, while others did not receive access to their funds at all.

Some pensioners have died without their family members having access to funds.

Long-term construction

Professor Edward Kieswetter from Transnet told the committee that the Transnet Pension Fund had an actuarial deficit of R17.1 billion early in its existence in 1990, which means that 22% of the liabilities were covered by the fund's investments.

"An amount of R309m was assigned to Transnet, and there was a further agreement that it would be used to serve retirees.

"Transnet worked closely with the Ministry of Public Enterprises to receive government support for the additional financing of the Transnet Second Defined Benefit Fund, but these discussions were terminated," said Kieswetter.

& # 39; I'm doing it & # 39;

Commissioner for the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) Steve Swart asked Kieswetter about allegations Trilian, who was associated with Gupta, used his position, and certain pension funds, to cover themselves to conclude deals that they had entered into.

Kieswetter said that Transnet was painfully aware of balancing the real human situation of pensioners and that the aid did not at all trivialize this. Steps have been taken to address the problem, he said.

"We have made discretionary payments of R523m to members.

"It causes a change in the rules to address the 2% deficit in terms of the Fund's rules, and we also continue to make agreements outside the court," said Kieswetter.

"Outstanding settlement is a serious attempt to resolve matters in the matter, we would like to hasten that," he added.

The Transnet delegation confirmed that some pensioners received only R140 per month and said they were "working with pensioners to tackle it".

However, the delegation said that Transnet did not make any deductions on amounts paid to beneficiaries.

& # 39; Can last up to 10 years & # 39;

Kieswetter said that the class action of 2014 was looking for an order that Transnet paid the Transnet Pension Fund an amount of R309m with interest from the surplus in 2001.

He said that the historical financing deficit of R17.1 billion was never a debt owed by Transnet and that both the Transnet Pension Fund and the Transnet Second Defined Benefit Fund both had a surplus.

Commissioner for the Democratic Alliance, Natasha Mazzone, reminded the Transnet delegation that the issue of the pension fund went as far as the Constitutional Court and that it was a serious matter affecting people's lives.

"That money does not go anywhere when these people die, and this battle can last up to 10 years and a lot can change.

"If you are in the eighties, you do not have to wait ten years, is there no way to arrange this in a way that does not go hand in hand with this long, drawn-out trial?" Mazzone asked.

Outside the court

Member of the portfolio committee for the African National Congress Zukile Luyenge said that the eternal suffering of the members of this fund was serious and that there was no time to go through lawsuits while the beneficiaries waited.

"Many are already over, is there no arrangement to ensure that the beneficiaries are in your data so that those funds do not stay within the company and are not claimed? Is an extrajudicial settlement not possible in the general dispute?" he asked.

As far as the Trillian case is concerned, Siyabonga Gama CEO of the Transnet Group said that the entity had spoken with the parties in the pension fund and that the board was told that they would go to court to collect those funds.

Transnet Chairman of the Board, Popo Molefe, said: "We are doing everything we can to ensure that the issue of retirees is treated in the most humane way." The Trillian issue has recently been brought to our attention and we will look into it and, if necessary, include it in ongoing investigations. "

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