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Cosatu: Use workers' pension funds to bail out Eskom

Cosatu believes paying off 50% of Eskom’s debt with workers’ pension funds was not a big ask.

Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) wants workers’ pension funds to be used to bail out Eskom because it believes this would yield investments in the long run.

The labour federation said on Wednesday it made the proposal at the African National Congress (ANC) lekgotla and it was endorsed by the alliance partners.

Eskom is over R400 billion in the red and facing liquidity challenges. Breakdowns at its power stations resulted in load shedding, which had a huge impact on the economy.

Cosatu believes paying off 50% of Eskom’s debt with workers’ pension funds was not a big ask. It said the funds should be allocated, provided there was a commitment that the power utility wouldn’t be privatised and that jobs wouldn’t be lost.

Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said the workers’ pensions wouldn’t be overly exposed.

“In the long term, this investment will be returned,” he said.

Pamla said workers didn’t need to worry.

“This is not going to affect workers because they have defined benefits when it comes to the Public Investment Corporation [PIC] that are insured to the national fiscus by Treasury.”

He said there should be a special purpose vehicle put together to include the Unemployment Insurance Fund, the PIC, the Development Financing Institution, and the Development Bank of Southern Africa to take over the Eskom debt.