Mashudu Sadike and Manyane Manyane
Pretoria - The EFF in Limpopo has called for the suspension of Great North Transport (GNT) CEO Dr Matata Mokoele, while the DA has vowed to write to the public protector over the parastatal’s R300 million pension fund scandal.
The Pretoria News reported last week that more than 800 current and former employees of the provincial government-owned bus company were counting their losses after R300m of their pension fund vanished.
GNT, which is a subsidiary company of the Limpopo Department of Economic Development and Tourism, failed to pay their contributions to pension fund administrators, or made short payments, for 17 years, even though it had made monthly deductions from employee salaries in breach of the Pension Fund Act (PFA).
The money was evidently used as cash-flow by the cash-strapped bus company. Despite holding quarterly board meetings between 2000 and 2017, the GNT board of trustees also failed to report non-compliance by the bus company to the pension fund registrar as required by the PFA, according to a draft forensic report by global firm BDO.
EFF member of the provincial legislature Reginah Mphahlele called for the immediate suspension of Mokoele, and the board of trustees led by Thabelang Ncube over the failure to comply with the provisions of Section 7c and 7d of the PFA.
Mphahlele also called for the Limpopo MEC of Transport, Community and Safety, Mavhungu Lerule-Makhanya, to act on the matter urgently.
The DA in the province threatened to report the matter to the public protector, and called for the MEC to hold the board accountable.
The party’s legislature chief of staff, Karla van Rensburg, said: “We call on the current board of GNT and the MEC to hold all the boards of trustees who served during the time where pension contributions were either short paid, late payments made or not paid at all, to account.
“The DA will further lay a complaint at the public protector and request an investigation into the matter,” Van Rensburg said.
“GNT has not been financially viable for seven years, and the turnaround plan will be jeopardised if the outstanding pension funds are not settled. Scopa was informed that R38 million was paid to date and provision was made to pay a further R9m. A report tabled at Scopa says GNT has R122m of debts to service providers, including pensions.”