COSATU official put on leave

PUT ON LEAVE: Jan  Mahlangu. Pic.Russell Roberts. 26/05/2005. © BD
PUT ON LEAVE: Jan Mahlangu. Pic.Russell Roberts. 26/05/2005. © BD

THE Congress of South African Trade Unions' pension fund co-ordinator, Jan Mahlangu, is on special leave following allegations that he took a bribe from SA Quantum, a company that provides financial services to trustees of the provident fund.

THE Congress of South African Trade Unions' pension fund co-ordinator, Jan Mahlangu, is on special leave following allegations that he took a bribe from SA Quantum, a company that provides financial services to trustees of the provident fund.

SA Quantum also employs the wife of Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. Noluthando Vavi is responsible for selling the company's products to the pension fund trustees of Cosatu affiliates.

The Mail and Guardian newspaper on Friday reported that SA Quantum had bought Mahlangu a R349 000 Audi A4.

According to Cosatu pension fund trustees and union officials who work with the fund should remain independent of all financial services providers so that they can base their financial decisions on the best interests of fund members - the workers.

But Mahlangu admitted to Vavi on Friday afternoon that he took the car as a "gift" and did not declare this to the Union. This contradicted claims he made last week that he had bought the car through an independent financier.

"It is clear that he breached the code of conduct that obliges Cosatu staff to disclose gifts and not to accept any that could create a conflict of interest. Cosatu unreservedly condemns his acceptance of such a gift from a company which is involved in the retirement fund sector in which he works" said union spokesperson Patrick Craven.

"Cosatu is to investigate whether the gift amounted to a bribe, which could have led to his acting as an agent for SA Quantum within the retirement fund industry" Craven said.

Mahlangu's actions have apparently shocked Cosatu affiliates.

One Cosatu official who is involved with retirement funds told Sowetan that financial services providers like SA Quantum were known for going "to any length" in their bid to get business from the unions.

"Pension fund officers normally get offered tickets to soccer and rugby games," he said. "But accepting a luxury vehicle is taking it to a new level.

"Influential people in pension funds do accept incentives to favour one service provider over another. It is also happening in medical aid schemes.

"They target institutions that have large membership bases, like trade unions, and it is members' money that is ultimately being defrauded."

X