Today's Labour News

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picTerry Bell writes that it has begun to dawn on public sector trade unionists that a very large sum of money from their pension funds may already have been handed over to politically motivated investments under the guise of promoting Black Economic Empowerment (BEE).  

The Government Employee Pension Fund (GEPF), that probably accounts for at least R1.6 trn of the funds handled by the government controlled Public Investment Corporation (PIC), allows for 5% of such funds to be placed to the advantage of BEE.  But 5% of GEPF funds is equal to at least R16 bn, which is considerable.  The unions, notably the PSA (formerly Public Servants Association), have realised that they should have greater oversight over how this money is invested.  PSA general manager Ivan Fredericks has already lodged a demand that the labour movement be represented on the board of the PIC.  Fredericks has also requested that, when listing all investments, the PIC must include “a list of politically connected persons” involved in such deals.  The PSA furthermore wants the unions to be represented on the boards of companies where employee pension funds are invested.

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