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State pensions invested in e-toll debt

Apr 20 2012 09:34 Sapa

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Johannesburg - The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) said if the Gauteng e-toll project fails, government will have to bail out Sanral, as well as the civil servants' pension fund, according to a report on Friday.

Chairperson of the board of trustees of the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), Arthur Moloto, confirmed that as of the end of February 2012, it held roughly 50% of Sanral bonds valued at around R15.7bn, Beeld newspaper reported.

The money was invested by the Public Investment Corporation, which is owned by government and manages investment funds on behalf of public sector entities. Clients of the PIC include the GEPF.

Moloto said in a statement to the daily newspaper that the GEPF had nothing to hide, and that all investments had been tabled in parliament, in the PIC's 2010/2011 annual report.

However, the IFP said the investment was the real reason behind government's push to ensure the controversial Gauteng e-tolling project succeeds.

The IFP's finance spokesperson Narend Singh said it was finally clear why government wanted to save this project at all costs, regardless of public opposition and the obvious unfeasibility of the scheme.

A failure of the toll system would be disastrous, he warned.

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