COSATU is disheartened by the slaps on the wrists sought by the German prosecuting authorities and judiciary for the Steinhoff corruption scandal

16 February 2024

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) is deeply disheartened by the shameful slaps on the wrists sought by the German prosecuting authorities and judiciary for persons involved in the Steinhoff corruption scandal. 

Monday will see the third trial commence in Germany in response to the corruption and tax scandals at Steinhoff that shocked the world and saw up to R12.5 billion worth of South African workers’ hard earned pension funds looted.  To date Germany has concluded two trials and secured two convictions since the scandal erupted in 2017.  COSATU is dismayed by the meaningless 3 and a half years with 1 year suspended and two years wholly suspended sentences meted out to date by the German courts to the convicted.

As pathetic as these sentences are given the billions of workers’ pensions involved, at least Germany has brought some of the accused to trial.  South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority’s track record int the Steinhoff scandal has been nothing short of abysmal. 

It cannot be acceptable that high profile individuals are allowed to wantonly break laws, loot pension fund investments and live a lavish lifestyle and even when they are exposed in newspaper headlines, the prosecuting authorities sit and literally do nothing to bring justice to the victims and society.

It those who run the NPA are tired or have run out of ideas, then they should spare the nation any further embarrassing lethargy and make way for those who are interested and willing to see justice done. 

The Minister of Finance, Enoch Godongwana, needs to table a bold Budget at Parliament that will ensure the NPA has the resources it needs to fulfil its constitutional mandate, in particular filling all prosecutorial vacancies.  We cannot continue to be a society that normalises corruption and feeds a culture of impunity. 

For further information please contact:
Matthew Parks
Acting National Spokesperson & Parliamentary Coordinator
Cell: 082 785 0687