Johannesburg - It is "shocking" that low-paid clothing and textile workers could lose R100m through a loan that was allegedly "lost", Cosatu said on Tuesday.
"If these allegations are proved to be true, it is absolutely shocking. Textile workers are the lowest paid workers in the whole of the manufacturing sector," Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said.
The SA Clothing and Textile Workers' Union (Sactwu) is trying to get back R100m of pension funds from an investment company.
The money was placed with Trilinear Empowerment Trust, which in 2007 agreed to lend R93m to Canyon Springs so that it could buy an unnamed and unlisted company, but the deal never happened. Canyon Springs Investments could not repay the loan as it had allegedly "lost" the workers' money.
It currently faces liquidation, Craven said.
Sactwu has ordered Trilinear Capital to return the assets, and ended all business dealings with it.
"Cosatu fully backs the call by Sactwu general secretary Andre Kriel for every single cent to be returned. We agree that if any guilt is proven, the guilty must go to jail for a long time," said Craven.
The decision to invest in Trilinear was not taken by Sactwu but by the board of trustees.
Craven said Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises Enoch Godongwana
was a director of Canyon Springs, but had resigned from his business interests when he moved to national government in 2009.
"He says that the deal between Canyon Springs and Trilinear was done substantially before he got involved with the company, and that he was not guilty of any inappropriate or irregular behaviour," Craven said.