The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) confirmed to the leadership of the United National Transport Union (UNTU) today that they are still unable to pay the outstanding (2) two months of the pension fund and provident fund contributions due to its cash flow problems.
At a meeting chaired by Prasa Administrator Bongisizwe Mpondo, the passenger rail agency indicated that it intends on transferring the outstanding contributions to the funds for March 2020 and April 2020 in bulk payments, but could not provide UNTU with a date by when it will be done.
The matter will be discussed by the Executive Council of Prasa again tomorrow to try and find a solution. According to Prasa, the transferal of the funds which has been deducted from employees as part of their total cost to company salary packages is a priority.
According to Prasa, it is still struggling with cash flow challenges as it has been operating limited routes on 15% of its normal capacity as of the 1st July 2020 and were unable to generate an income in the three months prior due to the COVID-19 lockdown to flatten the curve of the deadly global pandemic.
Sonja Carstens, Deputy-General Secretary of UNTU, told Prasa that the outstanding contributions must be addressed as a matter of urgency. UNTU members are being severely jeopardized by the non-payment of the contributions, especially in the specific unstable global market conditions.
The Transnet Retirement Fund and the Prasa Provident Funds, the (2) two affected funds, would have bought shares on behalf of the beneficiaries of the funds with their contributions. Those shares could have grown in value over the past (3) three months.
“While the funds are unable to invest the money on behalf of Prasa employees, the employees are also losing out on the interest they would have gained on the growth in their investments due to the contributions not being transferred,” she said.
Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic has also hampered the ability of the South African Police Service (SAPS) to make strides in investigating the case of fraud and theft UNTU opened against Prasa on behalf of its members.
The case has been transferred to the Specialized Commercial Crime Unit (SCCU) in Johannesburg more than (2) two months ago. The SAPS decided to transfer the case to the specialized unit that works together with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) due to the vastness of the complainants and the amount involved.
Prasa did pay a portion of the contribution over to the funds last month to cover the outstanding death and disability benefits of its members after their cover was suspended by the irrespective insurance companies who underwrite the cover.
UNTU will continue to keep its members updated on any developments.
Issued on behalf of UNTU by Sonja Carstens, Deputy-General Secretary: Media, Liaison and Communication. For UNTU press releases phone Sonja on 082 463 6806