The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA)’s and its public sector unions have written a letter to Steinhoff’s Acting Chairperson Heather Sonn demanding that the company’s Audit Committee Chair Steve Booysen and cohorts do the honourable thing and fall on their own swords after 95 percent of share value in public sector pension funds was brutally wiped off the JSE listed blue chip company in November last year triggered by South Africa’s biggest corporate scandal on their watch.
FEDUSA strongly believes that there is no way that as head of Audit, Booysen a could not have known of the scandal that saw Steinhoff’s share price crumble from R45 to around R3 today in a matter of a few months and wants his resignation to be accompanied by a fundamental restructuring of the company’s Board to incorporate worker directors with veto power.
“Our public sector affiliates, the Health & Other Services Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (HOSPERSA), the Public Servants Association of South Africa (PSA), the South African Abet Educators Union (SAAEU), the Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwysersunie (SAOU), the South African Parastatal and Tertiary Institutions Union (SAPTU), the United National Public Service Association of S. A. & Allied Workers Union (UNIPSAWU) and the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) are outraged that the loss of nearly R250 billion in the value of Steinhoff shares is ultimately a major loss to the many pension and provident funds that invested via asset managers in the company, and in turn negatively affects the value of the retirement benefits of millions of workers in South Africa,” said FEDUSA General Secretary Dennis George.
“And notwithstanding the fact that the formal forensic investigation is still proceeding, it is now clear that Steinhoff and its shareholders have been the victim of major corporate fraud, the largest in SA history.
“The Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), represented by the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) is currently the biggest single shareholder of Steinhoff, and bears a heavy responsibility to lead the way to both uncover the perpetrators of this corporate fraud as well as to protect the remaining value for itself as a Steinhoff shareholder, the current 130 000 employees of Steinhoff as well as all other stakeholders on the Board”.
George said with this year’s Steinhoff Annual General Meeting (AGM) set down for Friday in Cape Town next week, FEDUSA will support its public sector affiliates’ campaign for a new squeaky clean Board that puts public servants’ fiduciary interests above corruption and greed with all necessary resources.
“As asset owners, FEDUSA and all its contributing membership to the GEPF as well as its private sector unions that have invested in Steinhoff, will use the 20 April 2018 AGM as a platform to communicate to the Steinhoff Board and other impacted stakeholders, what it requires the Board to address.
“This specifically includes bringing the fraud and fraudsters to light as soon as possible, and to set a clear direction for the future of the company to preserve the best interest of shareholders, employees and stakeholders,” he said.
FEDUSA’s public sector unions’ representatives will attend the AGM while thousands of their members and other stakeholders will hold picket lines outside the venue that will culminate in a media conference addressed by the General Secretary and the unions’ leadership, concluded George.
FEDUSA is the largest politically non-aligned trade union federation in South Africa and represents a diverse membership from a variety of sectors in industry. See www.fedusa.org.za for more information.
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