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Great North Transport provident fund victims can't make ends meet

A file picture of Limpopo premier Stan Mathabatha unveiling Great North Transport’s bus fleet. Picture: Supplied

A file picture of Limpopo premier Stan Mathabatha unveiling Great North Transport’s bus fleet. Picture: Supplied

Published May 17, 2022

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Mashudu Sadike and Manyane Manyane

Pretoria - Life for 59-year-old Anna Masipa from Soshanguve in Pretoria has never been the same since the 2009 death of her husband who fell sick after being retrenched by the Limpopo bus company.

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The mother said despite having taken documents to the Great North Transport Pty Ltd (GNT), a state-owned bus company, controlled by the Limpopo Department of Economic Development, she had never been able to access her husband’s provident fund 13 years after his death.

As a result two of her children have had to drop out of higher education to do odd jobs so they could help out with the financial situation in the house.

“I couldn’t sustain their studies. I'm a nurse but I don’t have enough to make ends meet. I still have loans I’m paying because I thought I would have received my husband’s pension payout by now, but I’ve yet to see a cent,” Masipa said.

She said she had to move to Pretoria from Limpopo to find a job after her husband died. He died after being retrenched from his job as a GNT bus driver for more than four decades.

Yesterday, the Pretoria News reported that more than 800 current and former employees of a company had been left high and dry after R300 million of their pension fund vanished.

This comes after GNT had failed to pay its contributions to the pension fund administrators, or made short payments, for 17 years even though it had made monthly deductions from their salaries, in breach of the Pension Fund Act.

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Another victim, Ravish Maake, 58, who was retrenched due to a disability, had still not received any of his pension funds. Maake, who worked at the cash-strapped company from 1989 to 2014, said he had to leave after a window of a bus he was driving crashed and pieces of the broken window landed in his eyes.

“I’m living from hand to mouth and I take each day as it comes. I'm praying that some day these guys will have a conscience and give us our much-needed pensions,” Maake said.

Make It Happen Foundation’s Harry Masindi, who was roped in by the victims to help them, said the current employees, retired employees, and the spouses of those who passed away, will march at the Limpopo Legislature on June 1. In a letter written to speaker Rosemary Molapo on May 10, Masindi invited her to come and receive the memorandum.

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He said the purpose of the march is in regard to the non-response to the adjudication meeting of the standing committee on public participation and petitions of the Limpopo Legislature on February 17, 2022.

Among other issues that would be raised is the failure to release a report of the BDO forensic investigation by the provincial treasury.

“The Limpopo government was aware of the non-payment every year the auditor-general produced a report. That's why we petition the Limpopo Legislature through the Speaker of Parliament. The standing committee is failing to call the premier, (Treasury MEC) Seaparo Sekoati and (Economic Development MEC) Thabo Mokone to account after they failed to respond to the memorandum, and now we are arranging a march to the Legislature,” said Masindi.

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The Transport Omnibus Workers Union official Malinge Plaatjie, who is responsible for Gauteng and Limpopo regions, said the union has been engaging management about the matter but they refused to listen.

Pretoria News

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