GEPF mourns the passing of two Board Members

Date: 05 January 2021

The Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) is shocked and saddened by the passing of two of its Board Members, Mr Alan Thompson and Dr Lese Matlhape on 04 January 2021.

Dr Lese Matlhape served as a specialist trustee on the Remuneration Committee since 2015 while Mr Alan Thompson served as a Trustee on the Board as well as a member of the Finance and Audit Committee and the Benefits and Administration Committee from 2018.

GEPF Chairperson of the Board, Dr Renosi Mokate, on behalf of the Board and staff members passes her deepest condolences to the Thompson and Matlhape families, their colleagues and friends.

The GEPF acknowledges the dedication, diligence and professionalism with which the two Trustees served the Fund. The Fund will forever be grateful for their selflessness and dedication to its members, pensioners and beneficiaries.

May their souls Rest in Peace.

Issued by:

Government Employees Pension Fund

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GEPF ANNUAL RESULTS AS AT FINANCIAL YEAR-END MARCH 2020

GEPF NAVIGATES STRONG HEADWINDS

Monday, 16 November 2020, Pretoria

Main Points

GEPF asset market value declined by 11.4% from R1.8 trillion in 2019 to R1.64 trillion in 2020. This decrease in the investment value is mainly attributable to the losses incurred in March 2020 as a result of the impact of Covid-19, the downgrade in credit ratings and a persisting low growth environment.

Income received during the financial year included:

✓ Dividend income – R34.1 billion

✓ Interest income – R52.3 billion

✓ Property income – R1.8 billion

✓ Contributions received – R 80,2 billion

Benefits paid upon member’s resignation, retirement, or death was R111 billion which was an increase of R 8.4 billion against 2018/19 financial year payments. This was mainly due to an increase in pension payments which accounted for 62% of the total benefits paid which was driven by the 5.2% monthly increase granted to pensions and a 3.1% increase in the number of pensioners.

As at 31 March 2020, the end of the financial year 2019/2020, the Government Employees Pension Fund, Africa’s largest pension fund reported a decline in its investment portfolio of R243 billion largely impacted by the turmoil in the South African and global economy in the last quarter of the 2019/2020 financial year.

However, due to the resilience of the GEPF investment strategy, the Fund has recovered the losses incurred and its unaudited value is currently R1.9 trillion. This recouping of losses clearly indicates that the GEPF remains financially sound despite the tough economic conditions that the Fund operated in, in the 2019/2020 financial year.

The financial results however continue to highlight that the performance of the Fund is not isolated from the country’s economic and development constraints. The poor state of the South African economy had a significant impact on the Fund, as the economic climate in the three months leading to 31 March was extremely turbulent and coincided with the end of the Funds 2019/2020 financial year.

Much of the decline in the Funds market value was due to the performance of local equities, capital markets and listed property. The decline in international asset classes was offset by a significant decline in the value of the rand against the dollar. The value of the assets reflects depressed market values as at 31 March 2020.

In the context of a uniquely challenging economic environment, the GEPF did sustain an acceptable overall investment performance with income of R168, 4 billion as a result of investment income of R88, 2 billion and contributions of R80, 2 billion. The fund outperformed its benchmark by 0.22%.

The adverse economic climate in South Africa led to the sharp rise in the bond yields in March 2020 resulting in the value of the Fund’s liabilities reducing considerably as at 31 March 2020. This reduction in liabilities would have resulted in the funding level of the GEPF increasing but the unintended consequence would have been a marked decrease in member exit benefit values (calculated using the Actuarial Interest Factors derived from the actuarial valuation) for the upcoming years, until the results of the next statutory valuation is approved.

Given the abnormal economic shocks and the impact on member benefits, the Board of Trustees resolved to carry out an interim valuation as at 31 March 2020 that will be followed by a statutory valuation as at 31 March 2021. The postponement of the statutory valuation to March 2021 is still within the timeframe prescribed for actuarial valuations by the Government Employees Pension Law.

Benefit payments to members will continue to be made in accordance with the approved Actuarial Interest Factors, which came into effect on 1 July 2019, until the statutory valuation as at 31 March 2021 is completed. These safeguards members from the adverse effect that would have resulted from adopting the Actuarial Interest Factors based on abnormal circumstances as at 31 March 2020.

In line with the Fund’s commitment to ensure all benefits due are paid, the total benefits paid during the year under review increased by R8.4 billion, mainly due to the increase in pension payments, which accounted for 49% of the total increase. The increase in the pension payments were driven by the 5.2% monthly increase granted to pensioners from 1 April 2019 and a 3.1% increase in the number of pensioners.

Whilst the number of pensioners increased, the Fund also experienced a slight increase in active members by 0.3% to 1 269 161 members (2019: 1 265 421).

The GEPF expects the difficult economic climate in South Africa to persist as the economy continues to contract. Following the conclusion of its consultation with the Minister of Finance on its asset-liability modelling the GEPF over a period, will begin to align its strategic asset allocation to match its liability profile. The strategic asset allocation determines how the GEPF allocates funds to asset classes locally and offshore.

The GEPF is keenly aware of the important role it plays in the South African economy, and that its members, pensioners and beneficiaries are impacted by economic, social and environmental challenges, in recognition of which the GEPF continues to direct funds towards the development of the country, inclusive of infrastructure, transformation, sustainability, priority sectors and small –medium enterprises. Such investments however must ensure beneficial returns to the GEPF.

The GEPF expresses its appreciation to its implementing agencies, the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) and Government Pension Administration Agency (GPAA) for the work they do to ensure that the GEPF fulfils its mandate.

/Ends

The Audited Financial statement can viewed on the GEPF website on www.gepf.co.za

Issued by Government Employees Pension Fund

For more information, please contact:

Matau Molapo, Communications division

T: +27 (0) 12 424 7315

M: +27 (0)79 1910 757

E: Matau.molapo@gepf.co.za

About the Government Employees Pension Fund

The Government Employees’ Pension Fund is one of the largest pension funds in the world, with over 1.2 million active members and over 450 000 pensioners and beneficiaries. Our core business, governed by the Government Employees’ Pension Law (1996), is to manage and administer pensions and other benefits for government employees in South Africa.

We work to give members and pensioners peace of mind about their financial security after retirement, moreover during situations of need by ensuring that all funds in our safekeeping is responsibly invested and accounted for and that benefits are paid efficiently, accurately and on time.

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Africa’s largest pension fund appoints new Principal Executive Officer

Pretoria, Monday 26 October 2020

The Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Musa Mabesa as its new Principal Executive Officer (PEO).

Mr. Mabesa is currently the Acting Principal Executive Officer at the GEPF, having previously occupied the position of Head: Corporate Services at the GEPF.

Commenting on the appointment, the GEPF Chairperson, Dr. Renosi Mokate said, “We are pleased that following an extensive process during which an impressive list of talented candidates were interviewed, the Board has selected Mr. Mabesa as Principal Executive Officer. Mr. Mabesa is a high caliber leader with the necessary skills as well as the requisite strategic and operational knowledge of the GEPF and the pension and investment industry. We are confident that together with the current Executive team he will be able to successfully implement the strategic vision of the Board.”

Mr. Mabesa says he is deeply humbled by the opportunity given to him by the GEPF Board to lead Africa’s largest pension fund. “I look forward to working with the GEPF team and all our stakeholders as we continue to ensure that the GEPF meets its obligation to protect the retirement benefits of its members and pensioners through proper administration and prudent investment during the tough economic climate that South Africa and the world is facing. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to lead one of the world’s top pension funds. There is no doubt that the challenge is huge.”

Ends

Issued by Government Employees Pension Fund

For more information, please contact:
Matau Molapo, Communications division
T: +27 (0) 12 424 7315
M: +27 (0)79 1910 757
E: Matau.molapo@gepf.co.za

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GEPF Chairperson Refutes Holomisa Allegations

Pretoria, Thursday 18 June 2020
The Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) and its Chairperson, Dr Renosi Mokate, notes with deep concern the false allegations by General Bantu Holomisa to President Ramaphosa stating that Dr Mokate is allegedly part of a group of individuals that have looted state resources by having easy access to PIC and DBSA funds.
Dr Mokate refutes these allegations as unsubstantiated, irresponsible, mischievous and unlawful and as such will be seeking a retraction and removal of the letter from the said website and all other platforms. These allegations are a blatant misrepresentations of facts which cast aspersions on her integrity and character.
The GEPF and Dr Mokate are currently consulting lawyers and will take whatever action is required to clear their good names and reputations. Dr Mokate is not a director of Poseidon Pty Ltd, as alleged by Mr Holomisa, and never has been.
/Ends
Issued by Government Employees Pension Fund
For more information please contact:
Matau Molapo, Communications division
T: +27 (0) 12 424 7315
M: +27 (0)79 1910 757
E: Matau.molapo@gepf.co.za
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GEPF congratulates Abel Sithole on his appointment

28 May 2020
The Government Employees Pension Fund welcomes the appointment of Mr Abel Sithole as the new Chief Executive Officer of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC).
The GEPF chairperson, Dr Renosi Mokate, on behalf of the GEPF Board of Trustees and its employees congratulates Mr Sithole on his appointment and wishes him well at the PIC.
“We thank Abel for his hard work and dedication to the Fund and its stakeholders. He brought stability and direction to the GEPF at the time when stability was needed and we are assured that he will do the same at the PIC. This is not a goodbye but see you later, said Dr Mokate.
Referring to his appointment, Mr Sithole said, “I am honored to have served the GEPF and leave behind a strong organization and a great team which I had the privilege to lead.” The GEPF will in due course announce the process it will undertake to appoint its next Principal Executive Officer.
/Ends
Issued by Government Employees Pension Fund
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GEPF to take action following report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of Impropriety at the Public Investment Corporation

30 March 2020

The Board of the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) welcomes the findings and recommendations in the Report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of Impropriety at the Public Investment Corporation (Commission).

The Board supports the President Cyril Ramaphosa, who, on releasing the Commission’s report, indicated that in keeping with the recommendations in the report he would be forwarding it to the National Prosecuting Authority and all relevant regulatory authorities for their consideration and appropriate action.

The Board is encouraged by the media statement issued by the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) on the 20 March 2020 with respect to the actions it will be taking in response to the Commission’s report, including action initiated against named individuals and organisations. The GEPF looks forward to being regularly briefed by the PIC as it deals with the various recommendations in the report.

Although the Commission’s terms of reference did not include the GEPF, the GEPF will pay careful attention to and follow up on the Commission’s recommendations specific to it and the PIC. It will cooperate with the National Treasury which has been tasked with oversight in addressing the Commission’s findings and recommendations.

The Executive Committees of the GEPF and PIC, led by the Principal Executive Officer and Acting Chief Executive respectively, overseen by the respective Boards, are already engaged in the reviewing the agreements, policies, mandates, procedures, processes, benchmarks and fee structures that govern the relationship between them as well as addressing areas where the relationship has been eroded.

Ends

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Message

26 March 2020

26 March 2020

Dear GEPF Member

As a result of the national lockdown announced by President Ramaphosa on the 23 March 2020 all GEPF offices will be closed from the 26 March 2020. We expect to reopen offices on the 17 April 2020 subject to no further lockdowns.

The GEPF’s priority in this regard is the health and welfare of our employees, clients and business partners.  It is important that we all commit to implementing the lockdown as required by Government in order to help curb the spread of the virus.

Communication with the GEPF during this period will be via email at enquiries@gepf.co.za

We would further like to encourage our members, pensioners and beneficiaries to comply with the guidelines aimed at protecting themselves and others which include amongst others:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after going to the bathroom, before eating, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol to clean your hands
  • Avoid close contact with anybody who is sick, maintaining a distance of at least one meter between yourself and the sick person
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Cover sneezes or coughs with a tissue and dispose of the tissue safely afterwards
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
  • It is recommended that only infected persons wear masks to avoid spreading the virus

We want to reassure all members, pensioners and beneficiaries that despite the decline on the global equity markets, the GEPF is financially sound. More importantly, as a defined benefit fund, benefits provided by the fund are not dependent on the performance of the fund’s investments.  Your benefit is determined by the number of pensionable service years and your average salary in the last 24 months of your pensionable salary.

Keep healthy and be assured that your benefits are secure.

Kind regards

Abel Sithole

Principal Executive Officer

 

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STATEMENT BY PRESIDENT CYRIL RAMAPHOSA ON MEASURES TO COMBAT COVID-19 EPIDEMIC

15 MARCH 2020

Fellow South Africans,
I am addressing you this evening on a matter of great national importance.
The world is facing a medical emergency far graver than what we have
experi-enced in over a century.

The World Health Organisation has declared the coronavirus outbreak as a
global pandemic.

There are now more than 162 000 people who have tested positive for the
coronavirus across the globe.
Given the scale and the speed at which the virus is spreading, it is now
clear that no country is immune from the disease or will be spared its
severe impact.

Never before in the history of our democracy has our country been
confronted with such a severe situation.

From the start of the outbreak in China earlier this year, the South African
gov-ernment has put in place measures to screen visitors entering the
country, to contain its spread and to treat those infected.
As of now, South Africa has 61 confirmed cases of people infected with the
virus, and this number is expected to rise in the coming days and weeks.
Initially, it was people who had travelled out of the country, especially from
Italy, who had positively tested for the virus.
It is concerning that we are now dealing with internal transmission of the
virus.

This situation calls for an extraordinary response; there can be no halfmeasures.
Cabinet held a special meeting earlier today.
After which, due to the serious measures we are going to announce, I have
consulted the premiers.

We have decided to take urgent and drastic measures to manage the
disease, protect the people of our country and reduce the impact of the
virus on our society and on our economy.
We have now declared a national state of disaster in terms of the Disaster
Management Act.

This will enable us to have an integrated and coordinated disaster
management mechanism that will focus on preventing and reducing the
outbreak of this virus.

We will also be able to set up emergency, rapid and effective response
systems to mitigate the severity of its impact.
Following an extensive analysis of the progression of the disease
worldwide and in South Africa, Cabinet has decided on the following
measures:
Firstly, to limit contact between persons who may be infected and South
African citizens

We are imposing a travel ban on foreign nationals from high-risk countries
such as Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Germany, the United States, the
United Kingdom and China as from 18 March 2020.

We have cancelled visas to visitors from those countries from today and
previously granted visas are hereby revoked.

South African citizens are advised to refrain from all forms of travel to or
through the European Union, United States, United Kingdom and other
identified high-risk countries such as China, Iran and South Korea.

This is effective immediately.

Government will continue to regularly issue travel alerts referring to specific
cities, countries or regions as the situation evolves based on the risk level.
Any foreign national who has visited high-risk countries in the past 20 days
will be denied a visa.

South African citizens returning from high-risk countries will be subjected to
testing and self-isolation or quarantine on return to South Africa.

Travellers from medium-risk countries – such as Portugal, Hong Kong and
Singapore – will be required to undergo high intensity screening.
All travellers who have entered South Africa from high-risk countries since
mid-February will be required to present themselves for testing.

We will strengthen surveillance, screening and testing measures at OR
Tambo, Cape Town and King Shaka International Airports
South Africa has 72 ports of entry in the country which are land, sea and air
ports.

Of the 53 land ports, 35 will be shut down with effect from Monday 16
March.

2 of the 8 sea ports will be closed for passengers and crew changes.

Effective immediately, all non-essential travel for all spheres of government
outside of the Republic is prohibited
We further discourage all non-essential domestic travel, particularly by air,
rail, taxis and bus.

Secondly, it is essential therefore that we minimize the risk of the spread of
this virus by limiting contact amongst groups of people.
While we appreciate the economic, religious, and cultural significance of
social and community gatherings, the coronavirus is spread through
contact between persons.

As we have said before, the current circumstances require extraordinary
measures to curb the spread of infections. Countries that have heeded the
call to implement these radical measures, have fared much better than
those than do not.

Therefore to encourage social distancing Cabinet has decided on these
additional measures:

Gatherings of more than 100 people will be prohibited.

Mass celebrations of upcoming national days such as Human Rights Day
and other large government events will be cancelled.

Where small gatherings are unavoidable, organisers will need to put in
place stringent measures of prevention and control.

Schools will be closed from Wednesday, 18 March, and will remain closed
until after the Easter Weekend.

To compensate, the mid-year school holidays will be shortened by a week.
Government is working closely with colleges, universities and other public
facilities such as Parliament, prisons, police stations and military
installations to intensify hygiene control.

Visits to all correctional centres are suspend for 30 days with immediate
effect.

Government is aware of the confirmed case of a student who has tested
positive for the coronavirus at Wits University.

Those who have been in contact with the student will be quarantined.
The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation is consulting with
vice chancellors of universities and colleges across the country and will
soon be announcing measures in this regard.

We call on all businesses including mining, retail, banking, farming to
ensure that they take all necessary measures to intensify hygiene control.
We also call on the management of malls, entertainment centres and other
places frequented by large numbers of people to bolster their hygiene
control.

Thirdly, to further strengthen our health response:
Government is strengthening its surveillance and testing systems.
We are in process of identifying isolation and quarantine sites in each
district and metro.

Capacity is being increased at designated hospitals in all provinces.

We are also increasing the capacity of existing contact tracing processes.

We are partnering with the private sector to set up a national tracking,
tracing and monitoring system of all people infected with the coronavirus
and those they have been in contact with
We are undertaking a mass communication campaign on good hygiene
and effective prevention behaviour.

Therefore, we are calling on everyone to:

• Wash their hands frequently with soap and water or hand sanitisers for at
least 20 seconds;


•over their nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with tissue or
flexed elbow;


•Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.
In essence, we are calling for a change of behavior amongst all South
Africans.

We must minimise physical contact with other people, and, encourage the
elbow greeting rather than shaking hands.

Because of the severity of this virus and its rapid spreading, government
will make funding available to capacitate the sectors dealing with the
national response to the Coronavirus outbreak.

Since the outbreak of this pandemic, our government’s response has been
led by an Inter-Ministerial Committee, chaired by the Minister of Health, Dr
Zweli Mkhize.

We congratulate them on the outstanding work they have done – together
with their able support teams – to steer our country through this challenging
and un-certain period.

As part of the intensification of this effort, we have decided to establish a
National Command Council chaired by the President.

This Command Council will include, amongst others, members of the Inter-
Ministerial Committee and will meet three times a week, to coordinate all
aspects of our extraordinary emergency response.

My fellow South Africans,
In addition to the impact that this pandemic will have on health and wellbeing
of our people, and the impact it will have on the day-to-day life of our
society, COVID-19 will also have a significant and potentially lasting impact
on our economy.

In the last few weeks, we have seen a dramatic decline in economic activity
in our major trading partners, a sudden drop in international tourism and
severe instability across all global markets.

The anticipated effects of the decline in exports and tourist arrivals will be
ex-acerbated by both an increase in infections and the measures we are
required to take to contain the spread of the disease.

This will have a potentially severe impact on production, the viability of
businesses, job retention and job creation.

Cabinet is therefore in the process of finalising a comprehensive package
of interventions to mitigate the expected impact of COVID-19 on our
economy.

This package, which will consist of various fiscal and other measures, will
be concluded following consultation with business, labour and other
relevant institutions.

It is clear that this disease will be extremely disruptive.
Our priority must be to safeguard the health and well-being of all South
Africans, to minimise the number of infections and to ensure all those
infected get proper treatment.

While we are battling a contagious virus, perhaps the greatest dangers to
our country at this time are fear and ignorance.

We must appreciate the extent of the threat that this disease presents, we
must accept the anxiety that it causes, but we cannot allow ourselves to be
overwhelmed by fear and panic.

We should stop spreading fake and unverified news and create further
apprehension and alarm.

While we are facing a medical emergency far graver than we have
experienced in recent times, we are not helpless.

We have the knowledge, the means and the resources to fight this disease.
If we act swiftly, with purpose and collectively we can limit the effects of the
coronavirus on our people and our country.

Although we may be limiting physical contact, this epidemic has the
potential to bring us closer together.

We are responding as a united nation to a common threat.

This national emergency demands cooperation, collaboration and common
action.

More than that, it requires solidarity, understanding and compassion.
Those who have resources, those who are healthy, need to assist those
who are in need and who are vulnerable.

All the institutions of the state will be mobilised to lead this effort, but, if we
are to succeed, every company, trade union, NGO, university, college,
school, religious group and taxi association will need to play its part.

We thank those people who suspected they may have been exposed to the
virus for coming forward to be tested and for taking measures – such as
self-isolation – to prevent further transmission.

We thank the medical teams around the country who are leading our
response and are putting the well-being of others ahead of the risks they
face themselves.

On Saturday we welcomed 104 of our compatriots who were in Wuhan City,
China.

We thank the repatriation team for the task they performed with pride and
efficiency to return them to the country and ultimately to their families.
The repatriation has been successful and those who have returned have
settled in the quarantine area.

We thank the military health officials, pilots, cabin crew and all those who
participated in this exercise.

We thank the leadership and the people of Polokwane and Limpopo for
warmly welcoming our fellow South Africans.

We also extend our gratitude to the staff and management of the Ranch
Hotel who have accommodated our compatriots and also subjected
themselves to quarantine.

We extend our appreciation too to the companies, organisations and
individuals who have taken it upon themselves to disseminate information
about this virus and to raise awareness.

We thank those businesses that have taken steps to protect their
employees, and those unions that have taken steps to protect their
members.

Ministers who are at the frontline of coordinating our response to this crisis
will be briefing the nation tomorrow, where they will unpack details in
relation to the measures we announced tonight.
Fellow South Africans, this is the most definitive Thuma Mina moment for
our country.

I have great trust that our people will respond positively to this call to
common action.

Fellow South Africans,
This epidemic will pass.

But it is up to us to determine how long it will last, how damaging it will be,
and how long it will take our economy and our country to recover.

It is true that we are facing a grave emergency.

But if we act together, if we act now, and if we act decisively, we will
overcome it.

I thank you.

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GEPF pensioners will receive a 3.6% annual pension increase as of 1 April 2020

Date: 02 March 2020

Pretoria – Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) announced today that an annual pension increase of 3.6% to its pensioners will effect from 1 April 2020.

Pensioners who retired on or before 1 April 2019 are to be increased with a total increase equal to 100% CPI which is 3.6% over the year to the previous 30 November with effect from 1 April 2020.

Pensioners who retired after 1 April 2019 are to be increased proportionally for each month of retirement between the date of retirement and 31 March 2020, with effect from 1 April 2020.

This pension increase is based on the 3.6% inflation rate for the 12 months ending 30 November 2019 thus making the increase equal to 100% of Consumer Price Index (CPI) and higher than the 75% of Consumer Price Index (CPI) provided in terms of GEP Law and Rules.

The GEPF has granted this increase to enable pensioners to keep up with rises in inflation.

It must be noted that increases which are above what is provided for in GEP Law and Rules is granted at the discretion of the Board taking the Fund’s investment performance into account.

END/

For more information please contact:

Call Centre: 0800 117 669 Email:

enquiries@gepf.co.za

Twitter: @GEPF_SA

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Government Employees Pension Fund on Eskom Proposal

7 February 2020, Pretoria – The Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), has noted the recent media reports including government support as well as public discourse on the statement issued by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) titled, “Key Eskom and Economic Intervention Proposals”.

In the statement, COSATU proposes, “a debt package to reduce Eskom’s debt from R450 billion to R200 billion through a special purpose finance vehicle involving social compact between government, the PIC and DFI’s”.

The GEPF would like to inform its members, pensioners and beneficiaries that the Fund has not received such a proposal nor has it been consulted on the COSATU proposals or any other proposals to reduce Eskom debt.

If the GEPF is approached with a proposal that requires investing in Eskom, such a proposal will be considered on its merits in the best interests of members, pensioners and beneficiaries.

Issued by Government Employees Pension Fund

For more information please contact:

Matau Molapo, Communications division

T: +27 (0) 12 424 7315

M: +27 (0)79 1910 757

E: Matau.molapo@gepf.co.za

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