The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has noted with alarm the reports that the Unemployment Insurance Fund was fleeced of about R1.7 billion through some questionable investments.
The Federation demands that urgent action be taken by government and the Unemployment Insurance Fund to recover R1.77 billion in investments made to a dubious company called Bounty Brand Holdings in the United Kingdom.
It appears that this R1.77 billion was made in two investment deals in 2018 and was equal to 15% of its investments in that year, but most shockingly are revelations that shortly after the investment was made, R530 million was immediately paid to the company shareholders.
Investigations have revealed the involvement of politically connected individuals and bank accounts in offshore tax havens pointing to a possible massive money laundering.
What is shocking is that some of these politically connected individuals have appeared before in allegations of serious wrongdoing, when it comes to monies invested by the Public Investment Corporation on behalf of workers.
This amount of R1.77 billion would have been able to cover 21 916 on unemployment benefits for 12 months or 37 853 women on maternity leave. This is scandalous and criminal, more so in an economy with a 45% unemployment rate. The UIF is built by the contributions of workers and employers and is meant provide for workers when they have lost their jobs, or on maternity or parental leave.
The UIF and the PIC need to explain to the public and workers what happened, and what are they doing to recover these missing funds. The National Prosecuting Authority needs to be brought on board as well as Interpol and the relevant authorities in the United Kingdom, to ensure those implicated are brought before the courts.
The Federation will be engaging with other labour federations and unions to discuss ways of ensuring that workers reclaim their money from government control. We need to work together to wrestle control of UIF away from government, especially because previously government had wanted to treat the UIF surplus as a piggybank, including using it to fund free education in the country.
The South African government does not even contribute to the UIF and, therefore, it has no legitimate right to be in control of workers deferred wages. The National Treasury has resisted efforts to include public servants in the UIF because it does not want government to contribute to the fund.
We will also be meeting with government to demand an explanation and also ensure that action is taken against the perpetrators.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Cell: 060 975 6794