Use your own pension money for Eskom bailout, DA tells Gordhan
Durban - The DA said on Wednesday that considering public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan supported using pensioners' savings to bail out Eskom, he should start with his own money.
"It is easy to use other people’s money to solve his problems. But if Pravin Gordhan is happy to risk the pension savings of millions of government employees to bail out Eskom’s debt, he should start by offering his own pension first," the party's spokesperson for finance, Geordin Hill-Lewis, said in a statement.
Trade union Cosatu said last week that one of the options to help the state power supplier should be the use of about R250 billion in public sector pensions as an investment into the beleaguered entity, which has debt of over R450 billion.
While not explicitly saying he supported the idea, Gordhan was reported as telling a business breakfast on Tuesday that Cosatu's suggestion was a "great move" as it showed organised labour wanted to be a part of the solution. He called Cosatu's idea "innovative".
"This is a deeply irresponsible policy proposal that should be resisted by government employees and pensioners alike. We call on the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), which gives an investment mandate to the PIC on behalf of pensioners, to reject this proposal unequivocally.
"Their highest responsibility is to their members, the millions of hard-working South Africans that contribute to that fund every month. They have no responsibility to the ANC, and no responsibility for bailing out failed state companies," said Hill-Lewis.
He added that the GEPF and PIC should appear before the standing committee on finance in parliament as soon as possible to make their position clear on this proposal, and that he had already requested a meeting.
If the GEPF approved Cosatu's proposed bailout, said Hill-Lewis, state employee pensioners "will never see their money again".
African News Agency