The South African Federation of Trade Unions on Tuesday said it “strongly condemns” the decision of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) to give Eskom a loan of R5 billion to cover its operational costs for this month.

“This is workers’ money, held in the Government Employees’ Pension Fund (GEPF), which is bound by law to prudently manage clients investments and deliver returns that meet but preferably exceed client mandates,” said SAFTU in a statement issued by acting spokesperson, Patrick Craven.

SAFTU, which was founded last year is now the second largest of the country’s main trade union federations, with more than 20 affiliated trade unions, altogether organising about 700,000 workers

“Eskom is an extremely insecure investment, given that it is reported to be on the brink of insolvency, and is currently under investigation by a Parliamentary Committee in connection with allegations of corrupt and fraudulent deals with companies owned by the Gupta family,” said the statement.

The Hawks – South Africa’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation – have have served a subpoena on Eskom to force it to hand over documents linked to the state capture investigation.

“It is certainly not prudent to invest workers’ money to clean up a colossal mess which they did not create,” warned SAFTU.

The statement added that the money stolen from Eskom “should be not be replaced from workers’ pensions” and instead suggested that it be recovered by the Assets Forfeiture Authority from those companies who stole billions. 

SAFTU also said authorities should also recover money from “Eskom officials like Ben Ngubane, Matshela Koko and Brian Molefe who facilitated and benefited from these deals and from ministers, including Lynne Brown, who allowed it to happen on their watch.

“This decision by the PIC strengthens the case for workers to be playing a far bigger role in its management, with the right to veto any loans and investments which pose a risk to the pensions held by the GEPF.”

– African News Agency (ANA)