• Road to riches

    Taxpayers keep funding structures with big plans but who knows what efficacy, says Mandi Smallhorne.

  • Don't fall for Ponzi scams

    An expert unpacks the tell-tale signs to watch out for.

  • Inside Labour

    A smokescreen of misleading rhetoric won't make SA's problems go away, says Terry Bell.

See More

Sactwu rejoices at court decision

Nov 06 2011 10:19 Nellie Brand-Jonker

Related Articles

Union shakes market with wage cut plan

Missing pensions may lead to prosecution

Cosatu shocked by R100m pensions 'loss'

Probe into R100m missing pension funds

Sactwu: clothing job losses slowing

Stitch in time for SA's textile sector

Cape Town – The disappearance of R417m of clothing workers’ money is a matter that the court needs to treat seriously, especially with workers experiencing such a struggle to survive.

This was said by Judge Dennis Davis in the Western Cape High Court in his finding on a court application by Richard Kawie, a former consultant for the clothing workers’ union Sact¬wu, claiming he was not compelled to testify about the money.

Clothing workers who filled the courtroom gallery to capacity on Thursday applauded Davis, who ordered Kawie to testify on November 23 in an inquiry into the affairs of Canyon Springs, a company that had received around R100m of the retirement funds.

Kawie was to have testified on October 17, but failed to make an appearance. On October 21 his legal representatives submitted an application to have him declared not compelled to testify. On Thursday Davis heard Sactwu’s urgent counter-application.

Davis sketched the background to the case and said he could not sufficiently stress that the case involved missing retirement funds with which workers – who are having such difficulties these days – would want to retire with dignity.

He said that from the information it was clear that the inquiry’s commissioner would have to interrogate Kawie as he was a “key witness” on the affairs of Can¬yon Springs. Canyon Springs, in turn, played a “key role” in the disappearance of the money, he said.

The information before him indicated that the money had been stolen or squandered. He called this a tragedy, but not a tragedy for those who had benefited from it.

Kawie, who will be overseas until November 16, wants to delay matters at the expense of workers who have lost their retirement funds, because of the holiday lying ahead, argued Gavin Woodland, counsel for Sactwu.

In his application Kawie referred to the media having access to the case and the breach of his privacy.

Davis said there had been a court order giving the media permission to report on the case. This was appropriate, he said, as it was a case of enormous public interest. It was no longer a question of what the public found interesting, but of the public interest.

The Sactwu members in court loudly endorsed his assertion that the workers had the right to know what had happened to their retirement money.

Nothing that Kawie had argued appeared sufficient reason to grant his application. It appeared to be nothing other than a ploy to postpone the inevitable. In Judge Davis’s view it was inevitable that one would have to testify on the affairs of a company that appeared to have stolen from people who were in no position to be robbed of their money.

Davis referred specifically to the case and generally cautioned people against using court procedures to prevent justice being effected.

The court, he said, could not simply approve every procedural argument and thus undermine affected parties’ clear right to have their interests examined.

If a court cannot find the balance (between the rights of the parties), it loses legitimacy in the eyes of the public.
sactwu  |  retirement funds  |  canyon springs


Read Fin24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Company Snapshot

We're talking about:


Johannesburg has been selected to host the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in 2017. "[The congress] will ensure that small business development remains firmly on the national agenda and the radar screen of all stakeholders, the Small Business Development minister said.

Money Clinic

Money Clinic
Do you have a question about your finances? We'll get an expert opinion.
Click here...

Voting Booth

People who fall victim to Ponzi scams are:

Previous results · Suggest a vote