As part of our continued efforts to keep you informed, the Eskom Pension and Provident Fund (EPPF) would like to provide you with the latest information on certain matters relating to the Fund. We would like to thank the members and pensioners for engaging us on these and other matters and for ensuring that the Fund remains accountable and sustainable.
Steinhoff Class Action Update
The Fund joined a class action lawsuit together with other investors against Steinhoff in the Netherlands and South Africa to recover losses it suffered as a result of Steinhoff losing value due to accounting irregularities reported in 2017 by its auditors.
Since this was a class action process that was initiated out of the courts, the offer needed to be sanctioned by the Courts both in the Netherlands and South Africa in order for the settlement to take effect.
The Netherlands Courts certified Steinhoff’s settlement proposal on 23 September 2021. What then remained was for the South African Courts to confirm the settlement proposal.
On 24 January 2022, the Western Cape High Court approved Steinhoff’s proposed settlement offer of about R24 billion. The settlement effective date is 15 February 2022.
The implementation of the global settlement requires numerous steps to be taken in order to make payments to the various investors and parties that have made claims. Steinhoff has established the Steinhoff Recovery Foundation (SRF) to administer and distribute the settlements. The terms of the settlement incorporate a three-month waiting period from 15 February 2022.
Steinhoff has begun the process of settling claims and will separately contact claimants, including EPPF through the class action representatives, should any action need to be taken.
The EPPF will provide members with further updates on developments in this regard.
BM Update – The matter is to be heard in March 2022!
As the EPPF communicated previously, Mr. Molefe has appealed the judgment against him in 2018 to return his pension pay-out to the Fund through the High Court, the Supreme Court of Appeal, and the Constitutional Court. His Constitutional Court appeal was dismissed late 2019.
The effect of the judgement in the main application is that Mr. Molefe should not have been a member of the Fund and therefore should return any pension monies paid to him. The EPPF should refund Mr. Molefe his own contributions to the Fund while he was an employee of Eskom, as well as his own accumulated retirement savings he transferred to the Fund from his previous employer/s.
In 2019, the Fund filed its application for the return of monies paid to Mr. Molefe with the courts. In response, Mr. Molefe has requested that his repayment be offset against the contributions he made to the Fund as well as the transfers from his previous pension savings into the Fund that are still held by the Fund.
At the same time, the matter involves the South African Revenue Services (SARS) in that they are required to return any tax paid to SARS on the amounts paid to Mr. Molefe.
The EPPF and SARS have filed their pleadings and heads of argument.
In view of Mr. Molefe’s failure to repay the funds following the dismissal of his applications for leave to appeal by the courts, the Fund then instituted legal proceedings to compel him to pay back the monies owed to the Fund.
Due to a dispute between the Fund and Mr. Molefe on the exact amount to be repaid, part of the relief sought by the Fund in the legal proceedings is for the Court to determine exactly how much Mr. Molefe must pay back to the Fund, taking into account the following:
• Mr. Molefe’s own contributions to the Fund while he was an employee of Eskom;
• His own accumulated retirement savings he transferred to the Fund from his prior employer/s;
• Related tax implications; and
• Applicable interest
This matter is set to be heard at the North Gauteng High Court on 16 - 17 March 2022. Once the court has determined the amount due, we will expeditiously take all necessary steps to get those monies paid.
We will provide further updates to members as and when received.
Eskom Pension and Provident Fund