'Stolen' pensions used to buy property, car

THE inquiry into the loss of textile workers' pensions has heard that some of the money placed in a trust of a former clothing union consultant could have been used to buy a multi-million rand Cape Town property and a luxury car.

Erwin da Gama, a friend of the consultant, Richard Kawie, was testifying in the liquidation inquiry of Canyon Springs, a company linked to Deputy Economic Development Minister Enoch Godongwana.

Canyon Springs is accused of borrowing R93-million from Trilinear Capital, which manages provident funds for the SA Clothing and Textile Workers Union (Sactwu).

Godongwana's wife Thandiwe is a director of Canyon Springs, which was supposed to pay back the loan in three installments but failed to do so, leaving more than 15000 workers without pensions.

Sactwu set up the inquiry into the alleged theft.

Da Gama told the enquiry that his company, Leading Prospect, was used as a "conduit" to move R15-million from Canyon Springs to Pasima family trust owned by Sam Buthelezi, who is the investment manager and owner of Trilinear group of companies.

Sactwu's counsel Gavin Woodland SC told the inquiry that Kawie's family trust, in which Da Gama was a trustee, bought property in upmarket Noordhoek for R4.5-million and a BMW 528i used by Kawie's wife, Vanya, apparently with money from Canyon Springs. Kawie is expected to testify today.

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