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Great North Transport bus company workers left with more questions than answers over R300m missing pension

Victims of the Great North Transport R300 million pension fund scandal march to the Limpopo legislature to hand over a memorandum. Picture: Mashudu Sadike

Victims of the Great North Transport R300 million pension fund scandal march to the Limpopo legislature to hand over a memorandum. Picture: Mashudu Sadike

Published Jun 2, 2022

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Pretoria - Current and former workers of the Great North Transport Limpopo bus company who were allegedly defrauded of their pension money, were left with more questions than answers when they marched to the legislature yesterday.

They had intended to hand over a memorandum to Speaker Rosemary Molapo, but she was not there.

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The employees are demanding Molapo’s intervention to hold

Premier Stan Mathabatha, Economic Development MEC Thabo Mokone and his Treasury counterpart, Seaparo Sekoati accountable for over R300 million of their pensions going missing.

The entity, which ferries thousands of passengers from work and back daily, failed to pay their contributions to the administrators of the pension fund, or made short payments, for 17 years, even though it had made monthly deductions from the employees’ salaries in breach of the Pension Fund Act.

The company is a subsidiary of the Limpopo Economic Development Agency, an entity of the Limpopo Department Of Economic Development and Tourism.

Molapo had previously told the Pretoria News that she would not be receiving the memorandum because it was not her role, questioning why the marchers were not protesting at the economic department instead.

Among their demands in the memorandum, is a call to investigate the role of Mathabatha as

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being a shareholder of the company, and the disappearance of the pension funds.

The memorandum read in parts: “The Limpopo Legislature must investigate the conduct of the Speaker and the chairperson of the standing committee on public participation and petitions on Make it Happen Foundation petitions.”

It also called on the speaker to account to the legislature for failing to protect the Constitution of SA, and for the premier of Limpopo, MEC for Department Of Economic Development and Tourism and the MEC for Treasury to account to the legislature on the liquidation and disappeared of the provident/pension funds.

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The workers also called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to issue a Special Investigations Unit proclamation on the investigation of the collapse of the entity as well as its corruption and mismanagement, and the immediate release of the forensic investigation report.

Further, they want an immediate investigation of the board of trustees of the bus company and an investigation into the role of MEC of the Limpopo Department of Economic Development and Tourism, his role as a board member of the company, and as a shareholder.

Addressing the march, whistle-blower Harry Masindi, whose help was enlisted by the victims, said they were giving Molapo 72 hours to respond to their demands.

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Masindi said the group was also going to stage a sit-in at the ANC provincial conference expected to start at The Ranch, near Polokwane on Saturday.

Speaking to Pretoria News at the march, widow of one of the victims, Molatelo Makgwela, 54, said her husband worked at the bus company for more than two decades but had nothing to show for it before his death in March last year.

“I am a widow because my husband died of stress, chasing money that belonged to him. We are pleading for help from the government to intervene in this matter.

“There are many of us that are widows. Can the government look at this matter from our point of view? This matter has broken so many families. My husband has left me with children. I have nothing. Mathabatha please feel for us as widows,” said a tearful Makgwela.

Another victim, 69-year-old Patrick Kopane from Sekhukhune, who was a bus driver then promoted to be an inspector, said he joined the company in 1988 and left it in 2003 but only received R40 000.

He said: “When I investigated why I had received so little money after 13 years, I realised that there was corruption involved because all in all I was supposed to get R150 000.”

Pretoria News

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