‘We will take to the streets if PIC is hijacked by Guptas’
COSATU’S biggest affiliate has warned that all of its more than 300 000 members will take to the streets should Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba allow the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), the custodian of workers’ pensions, to be “hijacked” by the Guptas.
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) joined the chorus of labour organisations that reacted angrily to alleged attempts to remove PIC chief executive Daniel Matjila in order to replace him with a compliant Gupta-linked appointee.
Yesterday Nehawu said legal action and the mobilisation of its members against the alleged hijacking of the PIC were on the cards should any untoward changes take place in the institution’s executive.
Yesterday, a report in The Mercury told of a plan by the controversial family to replace the PIC chief executive with a board member who was recently appointed to the board by Gigaba.
This, sources said, was set to take place at today’s special board meeting, where Matjila was summoned from an overseas trip in the US by PIC deputy chairperson Xolani Mkhwanazi to answer allegations of funding a project linked to an alleged lover.
Nehawu spokesperson Khaya Xaba said that the union was aware of attempts by the Treasury to use workers’ money to bail out “a black hole like SA Airways”, saying they would not allow it.
“We are totally opposed to the bail-out of SAA using state resources and the hard-earned money of our workers. In order to save SAA, throwing money at it would not be the starting point.
“The starting point would be getting rid of the board, especially Dudu Myeni – that would save SAA from financial ruin,” Xaba said.
“Should it happen that workers’ retirement savings are used to bail out SAA, we are going to mobilise,” he said, adding that using legal action to prevent “undue” change at the PIC was “also an option”.
Teachers’ union Sadtu also weighed in on the matter, saying it was ready to defend its money from being used to save state-owned enterprises that were milked by the Guptas.
The general secretary of the Federation of Unions of South Africa, Dennis George, cautioned that its members could resign from the public service “in order to save their hard-earned investments and secure their future”.
However, the Treasury rejected claims of Matjila’s removal yesterday, saying there were no “preconceived plans to remove Dr Matjila”.
Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union spokesperson Richard Mamabolo said it could not be tolerated that workers’ money was abused for private gain.