COSATU statement on Steinhoff corruption saga
7 December 2017
The Congress of South African Trade Unions is deeply alarmed and angered by the grave allegations of corruption against the company Steinhoff. The federation demands swift and decisive action to ascertain what transpired and for all the implicated parties to be held accountable. All those implicated in corruption and unethical behavior should be prosecuted and sent to prison.
The federation is worried because many of the workers retirement savings are invested in this company including PIC as one of the biggest investors. PIC has already lost billions of workers retirement savings through this corruption and we want the criminals responsible to be prosecuted and their assets seized. These so called “irregularities” are nothing but naked corruption and they are proof that the South African private sector is rotten to the core. During the State Capture and Corruption march in September 27, the federation made it clear that corruption endemic in both public and private sectors in this country. It is ironic that Christo Wiese has been condescending and sneering at radical economic transformation and pontificating about public sector corruption ,when this naked corruption at Steinhoff also happened under his watch.
COSATU is now even more committed to implementing its CEC resolution of rolling out a solid and decisive campaign to take control of the worker’s retirement savings ,starting with the PIC. The lack of proper labour representation in these pension and provident funds investments has allowed the rot to continue unchecked because the private sector has been distracting everyone by magnifying the public sector corruption. We do not want just to sit there but we want to influence the investment strategies of these organisations and hold them accountable
Steinhoff has not been good for the economy and the workers for some time. Last year in August the COSATU CEC expressed its deep concern that Steinhoff Group was planning to buy Shoprite and its offshore expansion. This was Steinhoff had acquired the JD Group and subsequently slashed thousands of jobs and reduced its size and operations to increase profits and better returns for investors, without thinking about the workers.
During the delisting of J D Group from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, they privatised their financial affairs and offered below inflation salary adjustments. They did this while at the same time spending over R11 billion buying a UK shop Poundland. The responsible institutions and law enforcement agencies need to act and act swiftly against this corruption.
Issued by Sizwe Pamla, National Spokesperson, COSATU, 7 December 2017