Cosatu slams Ramaphosa’s suggestion around using pension funds for SOEs

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The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has vowed to prevent government from nationalising pension funds and using them to bail out State-Owned-Enterprises (SOEs). The labour federation was reacting to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s statement during his oral question and answer session in the National Assembly on Thursday.

Cosatu spokesperson, Sizwe Pamla, says they would never allow pension funds to be treated like petty cash.

“ Previously we had seen this idea every time when government has messed up they would look at UIF (Unemployment Insurance Fund) they would look at PIC (Public Investment Corporation) and say how much can we get to bail SOEs. That’s not what we talking about here, in fact, the conversation we are having here is that first, we must ask how did we end up here, because government has messed up so we are not going to have government that is going to say we know what needs to be done here that era is gone.”

Meanwhile, political analyst Ongama Mtimka believes President Cyril Ramaphosa raised relevant points around the use of pension funds for infrastructural development and to support state-owned enterprises.

“On the question lastly of the assets prescription, if we borrow from international markets, we are robbing future generations, on the basis of the mistakes that have been committed by the current generation.”

Ramaphosa said it was important to hold a national discussion on the possibility of pension funds being invested in the struggling SOEs.

This comes amid concerns that South Africa may eventually be forced to go to the International Monetary Fund to seek a bailout as Eskom’s debt spirals and other SOEs battle to get back on their feet after years of corruption and maladministration.

He faced some tough questions about concerns that government may force pension funds to invest in prescribed assets – possibly Eskom and other struggling SOEs. Ramaphosa says it’s important to discuss the matter.