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SACCAWU Reply to article by Tony Beamish of Moneyweb

28 March 2014


 The Union has noted, with serious concerns, the article by Tony Beamish which appeared on Moneyweb on Monday 24 March 2014, allegedly concerning “court defeats suffered by the Union”. The Union notes that some matters are sub judicae, as we are currently petitioning to the Supreme Court of Appeal for leave to appeal after refusal of such leave to appeal by Judge Boruchowitz on 12 March 2014. We have noted that the article in question makes reference to certain Judgments, which is helpful as it will clarify some distortions by the Curator.

 The financial statements of the Union in 2000 showed the amount as a loan, however for the years 2001 and 2002, in accordance with the intention of the parties these amounts were correctly amended to reflect them as grants (donations).

 The first point to be clarified, concerns parties in the matter which was before the South Gauteng High Court in November 2013. The judgment under case number 07/1249 cites SACCAWU Investment Holdings, represented by its liquidator Mr T W van den Heever and SACCAWU as parties in that matter. Reference to litigation by the Curator in the matter thus constitutes a distortion. The issue in dispute was whether monies paid over to the Union by SIH (prior to liquidation) were donations or loans including whether such monies were repayable by the Union. Any suggestion of misappropriation of monies by the Union is vehemently denied and constitutes a distortion as this was done completely above board and was not concealed. The case Court accordingly did not involve the Curator, nor the SNPF at all.

 The Union denies lack of cooperation from former Board of Trustees as alleged by the Curator. It further denies that evidence before Judge Boruchowitz contained information that was previously not before the Curator, as such information is consistent with evidence led during the Section 417 enquiry, held at the instance of the curator into the affairs of SIH,; particularly on pages 182 to 190; 392; 394 and 395 of the Section 417 Hearing transcript, where Mostert makes clear reference to donations. The Union notes the unsubstantiated claims concerning investee Companies as well as unsubstantiated claims of recoveries in excess of R750 million which are made in an attempt to justify continuation of Curatorship.

 The Union also notes convenient reference to a Judgment by Judge Eberhard Bertelsmann. What the readers are not told here is that this was an application by the FSB for removal of the SNPF from Curatorship. It is therefore not a coincidence that the judgment in this matter is not attached.

 The Union also notes the false statement by Mostert where he claims that he has consistently succeeded against the Union and its questionable Companies. This general statement is also not substantiated in the context of other comments we raise in this response. For the record Mostert had also instituted a claim against the SACCAWU Administration Company, but such claim was subsequently withdrawn and he tendered SAC’s legal costs. This has been deliberately concealed from readers and this is the case he eventually lost with costs to the tune of R30m (as reported) on the adventure meant to realise the widely boasted about recovery of R700m from Standard Bank.

 Neither the Union nor any of its members and/or office bearers, including former trustees of the SACCAWU National Provident Fund, have been party to any tax evasion, nor have any other existing members, including former trustees of the SNPF, committed any theft against the SNPF. These allegations are vehemently denied. A few months before Curatorship the former Principal Officer participated in certain financial irregularities and the Board of Trustees of the SNPF took action against him and subsequently dismissed him.

 The Union has no intention of prejudicing members of the SACCAWU National Provident Fund and has continued to grow the membership base of the Fund as well as its asset base even when the Fund has been under Curatorship for the past 11 years. This the Union has done at no cost to the Fund.

 At this time we are not going to comment on the statements attributed to the judge, and our rights in this regard are fully reserved, however we hasten to submit that no onus nor burden of proof was placed on the Applicant to prove its allegations of “loans”, nor did they lead any evidence, save for cross examination. Instead SACCAWU was compelled to begin and lead evidence notwithstanding it having been were cited as the Respondent. We furthermore reserve our rights to certain comments made at the commencement of the court case to the effect that the Applicant has a prima facie case, a presumption we feel seemed pre-judgemental; essentially meaning that we were guilty until were proven otherwise. This is a presumption premised from conspiracy theories and insinuations dramatized to prevent adequate briefing of our new legal team and/or for them to amend the plea and/or any intention to postpone for such a purpose.

 The curator continues to cast aspersions against SACCAWU by referring to institutions/ companies created by SACCAWU as questionable and as having been created to siphon resources off the SNPF, which SACCAWU denies. However what has and is always omitted is that the SNPF did not spring up from nowhere but was tirelessly built using resources of SACCAWU, using SACCAWU staff fund as the base, negotiating with individual employers, using courts at our expense to force companies that were refusing to transfer our member values, negotiating with employers that never had such social benefits for workers and thus building its solid foundation and membership and/or asset base up to this day, notwithstanding it being under curatorship, as, as far as we know, the curator has never been in any company/shopfloor negotiations nor membership organisation and growth.

 The insinuation that the list of Directors, including the caretaker and the then Sole Director Mr Nalane (Lawyer) were cited as having been involved in all SIH Board meetings, especially deliberate reference to Concourt Justice Sisi Khampepe; are malicious and without merit, but typical of the perpetual intention to dent the SACCAWU reputation.

 Without being specific but in pursuit of some dubious insinuations to coerce some SACCAWU leaders to perjure themselves and former trustees, he resorts to untruths of non co-operation. As early as 2002 we held various meetings with the curator, FSB, including COSATU but holding SACCAWU at ransom with a quest, he would renege on any arrived at solutions towards normalization of the SNPF. In 2003 the National Executive Committee task team, as set up with him, however he abandoned that process; and as late as 2008 he aborted the “Board Of Management” (BOM) whilst it was established by Court order through efforts involving him, COSATU, FSB and SACCAWU. Refusal by the Union leadership to be coerced into submission on similar methods as those applied by the Apartheid Special Branch is conveniently viewed and described as non-cooperation.

 We equally fail to comprehend with why the judgment against FSB for removal of the fund curatorship has been labelled as “a blow against SACCAWU”, despite what we observed as the outsourcing of the FSB as the Registrar / Regulator’s responsibilities, its unclear procedure/process of appointing curatorship and its monitoring mechanism. If any conscience exists on the part of the curator he would as well inform the public that the R4m he is referring to was paid back to him by SAC and SIH, being an amount of R5.2 million, which he at that time acknowledged receiving. However, he would later manipulate the legal / judiciary system by demanding the self same amount which had already and overly been paid to him, however now being owed to him as now owed by SACCAWU to SIH, which is tantamount to having his cake and eating it. It smacks of broad daylight robbery disguised pursuit of justice under the Legal framework or acceptability.

 Issued by SACCAWU

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