BMW in R60m pension battle
AUTOMOBILE giant BMW’s property has been ordered to be publicly auctioned to make up nearly R60 million owed to former employees.
David Mahlatsi and 1 390 other former employees took the BMW pension fund and its board of trustees to court to get them to pay money they say are owed to them since 2008.
The group argued that BMW declared a surplus, then worth R28m, due to members who were there during 1980 and 2003.
For the plaintiffs, Thandiwe Moshabane, from Moshabane attorneys, said she had been negotiating with the parties since 2010.
But BMW pension fund had refused or neglected to pay its former employees, Moshabane said.
She said she faced a number of challenges, including that the pension payout principal officer sent the summons to the Financial Services Board, which later also said it wanted to make representations in court.
With limited resources, Moshabane said the case was one of her toughest.
“We asked them not to (make representations), because the matter did not involve them, but they would not listen,” she said.
Moshabane said the fund as well as the board were summonsed in July last year and did not enter an appearance to defend.
She said she then applied for a default judgment, which the Pretoria High Court granted.
“We sued because the defendants, despite demand, refused to pay the surplus. This case was handled by a black female, who worked alone. It is one of the biggest cases I ever worked on,” Moshabane said.
In a warrant of execution handed down last week, the court directed to attach the movable goods of the BMW pension fund and its board of trustees, and be publicly auctioned for R54 544 233.
BMW was not available for comment.