DA to Pravin Gordhan: 'Offer up your own pension first'
The DA's Geordin Hill-Lewis has slammed public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan after the minister apparently supported the idea of using pensioners' savings to bail out embattled Eskom.
“It is easy to use other people’s money to solve his problems. But if Pravin Gordhan is happy to risk the pension savings of millions of government employees to bail out Eskom’s debt, he should start by offering his own pension first,” said Hill-Lewis in a statement.
Trade union Cosatu last week proposed to use more than R250bn of the money managed by the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) to finance half of Eskom’s debt.
While not explicitly saying he supported the idea, Gordhan reportedly said that the proposal was a “great move”.
But Hill-Lewis said: “This is a deeply irresponsible policy proposal that should be resisted by government employees and pensioners alike.
“He knows that when Eskom cannot repay the pensioners, it is the public who will have to pay eventually, through crippling higher prices and higher taxes.”
Hill-Lewis called on the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) to reject the proposal.
“Their highest responsibility is to their members, the millions of hard-working South Africans who contribute to that fund every month. They have no responsibility to the ANC, and no responsibility for bailing out failed state companies,” he said.
Should the GEPF approve Cosatu's proposed bailout, Hill-Lewis said, state employee pensioners “will never see their money again”.
“They should not in any way rely on the supposed guarantee of their 'defined benefit' pensions when this government cannot pay its bills. That is why we will resist this proposal, and call on the GEPF to do the same.”