Sanral: Questions over pension investment

2012-05-03 07:35

Johannesburg - The Democratic Alliance on Wednesday requested Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to shed light on an unguaranteed Sanral debt owned by government pensioners.

DA shadow minister of finance Tim Harris wrote to standing committee on finance chair Thaba Mufamadi and requested that Gordhan be summoned to brief the committee on the status of the SA National Road Agency Limited's debt, following the recent delay in the e-tolls.

In a statement Harris said a meeting of the finance committee revealed that 5% of the government employees pension fund’s (GEPF) bond holdings were made up of Sanral bonds.

However Arthur Moloto, chair of the fund’s board of trustees, on Wednesday confirmed only half of the R15.7bn worth of bonds have a government guarantee.

"This raises the question of government pensioners’ exposure to default risk associated with almost R8bn worth of their pensions," Harris said.

"Moloto maintains that the unguaranteed amount is subject to an implicit government guarantee, given that the state is the sole shareholder of Sanral, but whether National Treasury agrees is unclear."

He said the finance committee needed to establish government’s position on the unguaranteed debt and risk of default, given that Sanral's ability to service the debt now appeared to be compromised.

"This issue will have implications for South Africa’s credit rating."

He said Gordhan also needed to provide further details on Sanral's bond issues and the GEPF’s bond purchases that apparently began around 2008.

"Questions arose in committee around whether the GEPF had knowledge of the e-tolling project when they purchased the Sanral bonds."

Treasury spokesperson Jabulani Sikhakhane said Gordhan was still waiting for a request from the portfolio committee on finance before he would clarify the matter.

"The National Treasury will (also) explain these matters in due course," he said.

  • Zing - 2012-05-03 07:59

    Pleeeeese give us back Trevor Manuel! Yes, the world needs to review our credit rating. We cannot pretend to be financially responsible when in reality our finance is managed by medieval pirates.

      colin.dovey - 2012-05-03 08:38

      There are far more capable people in the DA - Tim Harris is the Shadow Minister of Finance - the ANC's days are numbered. Tim Harris attended Hilton College. He completed a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in English Literature and Economics, at the University of Cape Town and then an Honours degree in Economics. He worked as an investment banker in Johannesburg he returned to Cape Town to complete his Masters in Economics. We NEED new blood, untainted by the smell of corruption permeating the ANC.

      colin.dovey - 2012-05-03 08:56

      Good one @Alan - we need some humour these days :-)

      DJPJVS - 2012-05-03 09:34

      I agree but please read

      Bless Boswell - 2012-05-03 09:45

      You get humour all day every day - its called the ANC circus. Roll up roll up ladies and gentlemen - watch the clowns do their tricks - they make money disappear!

      Sam - 2012-05-03 10:25

      I know I'm going to provoke all the bigots here, but I must say that although I'm no ANC supporter, Pravin Ghordan is not doing a bad job at all. Obviously he's not nearly as clever as the average news24 commentator, of course.

      Alan - 2012-05-03 10:45

      @Sam. If you have any dealings on a Company level with SARS, you will find that the mandate of SARS and the actual service delivery are chalk and cheese. The amount of time I waste because SARS cannot get it's act together is frightening. Legislation makes it that if SARS makes a muck up, the onus is on the Taxpayer to resolve the issue. It is impossible to escalate SARS problems within SARS and get action. For example - I have SARS STAMPED proof of submission of docs in 2005. I have stamped proof of resubmission onf those docs in 2009. But try to get a Tax Clearance in 2012 .. and the 2005 SARS stuff-up raises it's head yet again. 4 months later, 20 SARS visits later, Accountant interventions later ... eish eish..... And that is just one of many problems where SARS makes mistakes and cannot rectify them. So sorry to disagree, but it seems that Pravin has no idea what happens on the ground!

      Sam - 2012-05-03 21:51

      @Alan: I'm sorry to hear about your difficulties. The R of R office I deal with is very, very efficient, and the staff in general most helpful. Pravin Ghordan isn't responsible for the day to day running of the Inland Revenue Service but during his tenure as Commissioner of Inland Revenue (before his appointment as Minister of Finance) things were jacked up about 200% compared to how they were before. This is making me sound either like an ANC supporter or an apologist; neither is the case at all, but one should a) be realistic and b) give some credit where credit is due.

      Ricky - 2012-05-08 11:09

      It was trevor that made the decision back in 2008. so y is ghordhan neing blamed and how does it make sense to bring back TREVOR?????

  • elkita.robbertse - 2012-05-03 08:10

    Here comes a big thing.Everything is going to come out now about these e-toll stolen money..

  • Rabble-Rouser - 2012-05-03 08:20

    Lack of transparency seem to be the dominant theme in this whole e-toll debacle. The government appointed SANRAL as their agent. They expected the public to be docile and compliant so that they could just collect the money.

      DJPJVS - 2012-05-03 09:37

      MMM, Transparency, that is not possible I think?

  • terry.burne - 2012-05-03 08:22

    That's what happens when you put an uneducated buffoon in charge of a country!

  • Herman - 2012-05-03 08:23

    Same old story with this criminal anc regime, always stealing. Down with the anc scum!

      Glyn - 2012-05-03 09:25

      Yes, down with the anc oligarchs! Spell anc in lower case only, they do not deserve upper case!

  • Alan - 2012-05-03 08:36

    The whole Scamral funding scheme, involving Government pensions, smacks strongly of 'insider trading' which of course is illegal. Not that that would in any way stop the ANC from doing it however. Where is Jimmy Manyi now, waggling his finger pretending to be PW Botha, and saying the tolls WILL go ahead. Now we can see why he was so uptight about it.

      Alan - 2012-05-03 08:50

      @Alan (the other one) - Sanral and Govt. have indeed gone very quiet. I would love to be a fly on the wall at LootingAli House. I think these okes are in a panic, second to none! Eish - the Wheel, she turns!

      Glyn - 2012-05-03 09:30

      @Alan (the real one) - The wheels are going to fall off! Sooner the better. Vote DA to give the anc corruption convoy a flat wheel!

  • Nosiphom - 2012-05-03 08:42

    Mr Elias Masilela, how could you be fooled into investing our Pension money on Sanaral ? They told you the returns were going to be great by screwing the very same pensioners through e-tolls? Should you not have asked the owners of the money if they want to be part of the e-toll thing?

  • Henk - 2012-05-03 08:45

    first you steel the peoples pensionfund money and then you want to steel more from them at the tollgates!! bit arrogant isn't is?

  • thepatrickwinter - 2012-05-03 08:46

    I really hope this very public escapade is the last straw to instill a mindset change in the electorate.

  • Alan - 2012-05-03 09:00

    If the ANC HQ is Luthuli House, is the Scamall HQ LootingAli House??

      Alan - 2012-05-03 09:06

      Nice one Alan (the other other Alan)!

      Pieter - 2012-05-03 09:15

      Don't come here with your white tendencies. This is a looting house.

      Alan - 2012-05-03 09:37

      @Pieter - yeah - but with Ali (Nazir) .... :)

      Bless Boswell - 2012-05-03 09:38

      Baddy agent :p

  • Rob - 2012-05-03 09:17

    I am reading this as a statement that a very large contribution was taken from a pension fund. First a couple of questions: 1. Is it likely that individual workers were consulted first? 2. Was there any disc;osure to fund members? 3. Is it an entirely legal transaction? 4. Does this mean that any pension fund can be raided in this manner, despite all the checks and balances recently installed to prevent it. Now a strategic comment, there may be lots of mileage for opposition parties, but I wonder if we are going to see the anc distancing itself from government and Sanral....something along the lines that it was not anc policy but pushed through by Sanral without approval of anc. Just a thought!

      Jo - 2012-05-03 13:49

      I, as a member of this pension fund, was never consulted. The board of directors surely must have been asked, but I doubt it. I think govt just went ahead not thinking of the consequences.

      Sam - 2012-05-03 21:46

      Oh, come on, inform yourselves how these things work before you rush into print. Pension funds have TRUSTEES whose job it is to INVEST the funds they administer. They never 'consult' with members en masse about their investment decisions. 'A very large contribution' was NOT 'taken from' the pension fund... it was INVESTED. Of course it's a legal transaction. Do some homework, and if you're not clued about about it, stop feeling the urge to have an opinion, without first taking the trouble to enlighten yourself. @Jo: your comment is completely naive; you quite obviously do not know how a pension fund works.

  • Glyn - 2012-05-03 09:19

    Tim Harris for Minister of Finance! Vote DA and sort this lot out.

  • Glyn - 2012-05-03 09:23

    I suggest to all those government employees who think that their pension is secure to vote DA and get the answer. Are government pensions secure? Yes?/No? Vote DA for the honest answer!

  • Warwick - 2012-05-03 11:56

    Paying e-tollie is like paying your house bond every month and some jerk comes and paints it while you are away and demands rent as well.

  • Marlene - 2012-05-03 14:48

    Is this the reason why we only received 4.5% increase on our yearly pension-income? Shame on you ! Poor Pensioner.

  • Cecile - 2012-05-03 20:51

    and furthermore we need to establish if THIS is the reason that pensioners who've been on govt pension before 1992 (i.e. people who paid for the right to a fair medical aid for many years) have suddenly without their consent or comment been moved from Medihelp to GEMS medical aid, which is SHODDY compared to Medihelp ... imagine telling an 80 year old "Sorry, no, you can't take THAT blood pressure med, you must take this one" or "Sorry that Alzheimer's drug isn't covered anymore" It reeks of SANRAL

  • Freddy - 2012-05-03 22:10

    Why must pensioners pay for "stuff ups" and at the same time being acoused of fraud by foreign banks for no reasons. ABN AMBRO NETHERLANDS TAKE NOTE!!

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