Today's Labour News

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GEPFBusinessLive reports that the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) is invested in a Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) palm oil business linked to human rights abuses and land expropriation.

The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) has confirmed that government pension funds were indirectly invested in Plantations et Huileries du Congo (PHC) via a US investment company, Kuramo Capital Management (PHC’s majority stakeholder). PHC’s alleged human rights abuses are detailed in a report released in March by US think-tank the Oakland Institute. In a recent press release, the institute drew attention to the report’s broad findings and themes. The historical abuses detailed include: forcible displacement of DRC communities from ancestral land, which crippled livelihoods; unpaid wages, exposure of workers to dangerous pesticides, and routinely dumping of untreated industrial waste; and company security staff forcefully repressing opposition “through murder, unlawful detention, beatings and torture”. Kuramo advised that it took full control of PHC last November and had since replaced managers with “a fully indigenous Congolese team that reflects the communities where it operates”. The PIC said it was in touch with Kuramo regarding the Oakland Institute report and that it took environment, social and governance [ESG] issues in investee companies seriously. Meantime, SA’s African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) this week said the SA government’s involvement in PHC was highly inappropriate. “The bottom line here is that the GEPF has invested the money of SA workers to entrench dispossession of peoples’ territories and colonial patterns of land ownership and power in the DRC,” ACB’s Mariam Mayet said.

  • Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Bobby Jordan at BusinessLive

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