Pension debacle: 200 out in the cold

Cape Town 151015. Pensioners from the Eastern Cape slept in Parliament last night after Railway South Africa refused to pay their pension. Picture Cindy waxa.Reporter Argus

Cape Town 151015. Pensioners from the Eastern Cape slept in Parliament last night after Railway South Africa refused to pay their pension. Picture Cindy waxa.Reporter Argus

Published Oct 15, 2015

Share

Cape Town - About 200 pensioners from the Eastern Cape spent a cold and wet night outside the gates of Parliament waiting for somebody from the government to help them get pension money they are owed.

The group - all former employees of Transnet’s railway division or the former Ciskei Bus Transport Company, or surviving dependents of deceased employees - had borrowed money to hire six buses to travel to Cape Town to demand their money from the government.

The issue goes as far back as 1990, when the Ciskei Bus Transport Company was dissolved and a new company formed in its place, while the Transnet employees were locked out during a strike and not allowed to return to work - even though they had not been officially fired, members of the group said.

A court order specifying that the group had to have their pensions paid out was issued in KwaZulu-Natal “some years ago” and when the group came to Parliament in Cape Town last year, they were promised that they would be paid by February, said former Ciskei Bus Transport Company employee Clement Bacela.

Bacela said they slept on the concrete pavement last night and many did not have blankets to keep warm.

“We have come to fetch our money. The government last year promised us we would get paid according to the court order, but they still have not done so,” he said.

“These people are not doing the work they are supposed to do. They will not get our votes again in the next election. No, they tell us we should come back next year.”

Bacela said they believed their money had been stolen when the bus company closed, with another immediately started under another name.

“The problem is, a private investigator has found that many of us are still listed as employees, not pensioner,” he said.

The son of a woman who was among the group, who asked that neither he nor his mother be identified, said he had to wonder who was getting the salaries if the pensioner were still listed as employees.

[email protected]

Cape Argus

Related Topics: