Minnie’s Proposal to Amend Transnet Pension Fund Act: briefing & discussion

Committee: Private Members' Legislative Proposals and Special Petitions

Chairperson: Ms P Mentor (ANC)

Date of Meeting: 27 Feb 2008

Summary

MP Mr Minnie briefed the Committee on his Private Member’s Bill to amend the Transnet Pension Fund Act.  He noted that there had been progressive impoverishment of Transnet Second Defined Benefit Fund pensioners between 2002 and 2007, as a result of annual increases of no more than 2%. He sought to repeal the provision that spoke to limiting increases to 2%. He did not believe any other Act made provision for a specific percentage increase.

Mr Minnie’s proposal was to amend Section 24 of the Act. However, it was noted by Transnet that there was no such section. The Act of 2000 had been amended in September 2007. His Bill was tabled in May 2007, before this Amendment had been approved. Despite the fact that the Speaker’s Office should have notified him of the amendment and asked whether he still wished to proceed, it still seemed that the proposal was probably based on one of the Rules. Nobody had a copy of the Rules and correct Act, and it was decided that this must be clarified before the next meeting.

Members asked for clarity on this issue, noting its sympathy to the proposal and the motivation behind it. It was agreed that the Chairperson should write to the Office of the Speaker, pointing out the difficulty.
Transnet was asked whether the amendments had addressed the issue. It was pointed out that even if the Rules were to be amended, there would have to be consultation with the Minister. Transnet pointed out that it had attempted to address the issues, and had also held indabas and issued press statements about the arrangements. Members asked specifically how the Transnet Fund had moved from a deficit to a surplus, details of the bonus, how other pension funds would operated in terms of bonuses, why this route had been followed and what was the profile of pensioners. Members were urged to make use of the opportunity to communicate the issue to their constituencies. Mr Minnie, Mr Spies and Researcher Mr Rhoda were asked to sit together to suggest a possible way forward.

The Committee agreed that a business plan covering April 2008 to April 2009 would be adopted in the first week of April.


Minutes

Minnie’s Proposal: Transnet Pension Fund Amendment Bill
Mr K Minnie, sponsor of the proposal, was welcomed. The delegation representing Transnet consisted of Mr Deon Hugo, Fifth Quadrant investment advisor; Mr John Grobler, Principal Officer, Transnet Second Defined Benefit Fund (TSDBF); Ms Ursula Fikelepi, Chief Director, Legal Services, Department of Public Enterprises, Ms Carla Prentice Manager, Transnet; and Mr P Maritz,  Principal Officer, TSDBF.
 
Mr A Ainslie (ANC) was concerned that all these people were representing Transnet, and nobody was representing the pensioners.

The Chairperson responded that normally the proposer would have interacted with people on whose behalf he made the proposal. The Committee did not have the budget to ask all those to come and present. She had asked Mr Minnie to interact with them and request them, if they wished to make a submission, to make it in writing between this meeting and Friday, or those in Cape Town who would not incur travelling costs would be able to attend on Friday.

Ms L Maloney (ANC) felt it would be proper to hear from them.

A Member noted that members of the pension fund should normally be represented by a trustee. The Pension Fund would capture the issue of costs if they brought the trustees.

The Chairperson advised that the instruction was for the Board of Trustees to also be invited. She conceded that it would have been difficult to decide which pensioners to invite, as they were scattered all over the country; so the best way was to invite the structures representing them. She had not yet received the report on what had transpired on Friday.

Mr John Grobler noted that he was both a pensioner and a trustee, who attended the meeting as Principal Officer of the Fund.

Mr Hugo clarified that he was also Investment Advisor to the Fund and not to Transnet.

The Chairperson asked the Secretary to check whom each of the attendees was representing.

Mr Minnie was still of the opinion that the Committee should listen to the pensioners themselves. There were two or three organisations, and some of them were in Cape Town.

The Chairperson called him to order.

Mr Minnie asked whether he could present a paper by Friday.

The Chairperson explained she had called Mr Minnie to order, because as the sponsor of this proposal he was not entitled to tell the Committee how it should act, or who to invite, which was why she had entertained him outside the meeting. Anyone who wished to make a written submission to the Committee between now and Friday could still do so. The Committee was happy with the presence of a pensioner, and his role must be noted. However, she still extended the invitation for him to communicate on the Committee’s behalf to extend the invitation to other pensioners to write or to attend the meeting on Friday.

Ms S Rajbally (MF) explained what happened at Friday’s meeting. The Rules did not allow Mr Lowe to present. However, in order not to waste time it was agreed that Mr Lowe could give an introduction on Mr Minnie’s behalf but that no decisions could be taken.

The Chairperson asked Mr Minnie to outline his proposal.

Mr Minnie read his motivation as submitted on 22 February 2008. He summarised that the Transnet Second Defined Benefit Fund (TSDBF) had approximately 80 000 members. It was established in 1990 on the corporatisation of Transnet. The Private Member’s Bill to amend the Transnet Pension Fund (Act 62 of 1990) was intended to safeguard the income levels of members of the TSDBF.

The need for the proposed Bill arose owing to the progressive impoverishment of TSDBF members over the period 2002 to 2007. During this time no more than 2% in annual increases was awarded, ostensibly due to a statutory provision that limited annual increases to that amount. For the sake of comparison, it should be noted that other public sector pension funds awarded annual increases up to 8% over the same period.
Resistance from Transnet and the government to awarding greater annual increases was presumably also due to the fact that the funding level of the TSDBF had dropped dramatically after a bonds-for-equity swap earlier, for which there had been no accountability to the pension fund members by the trustees, by Transnet, the Minister of Public Enterprises or his Department. Calls by the opposition, pension fund associations and even Transnet CEO Maria Ramos for the government to step in as the guarantor-in-chief of the TSDBF had gone unheeded.

The bonds for equity swap concerned the exchange of R4.9bn in Transnet T011- bonds for R1.4bn in Transnet’s M-cell Stock earlier this decade. This led to a decrease in the funding level of the TSDBF from 103% in 2002 to a mere 72.1% in 2004. Despite numerous calls to Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin as to how it was possible that this transaction could be concluded without the knowledge of TSDBF-members, no clarity had been given.

Some relief was made available in 2007 with a 1% bonus being paid out to pensioners, with top-up bonuses being made available to a maximum of R12 120 per annum only. That clearly was not sufficient to assist TSDBF-members to recover the lost ground that they had suffered in relation to inflation over the same period. Especially in light of the recent escalation of inflation – food price inflation in particular – it was of great importance that something be done to assist these pensioners to ensure that they were awarded fair annual increases.

Mr Minnie therefore requested the Committee to give its support to this Bill by giving its recommendation that the proposing member be permitted to proceed with the Bill and table it in the House at the earliest opportunity.

Mr Minnie said that the basic issue was about figures. The Act was probably the only Act in the country that made provision for a set percentage of increases. The main point was to take that 2% out, and get a more realistic figure to take them forward.

The Chairperson advised Mr Minnie that a Member of Parliament proposed a bill in his or her own right. He had referred to the proposal as a “DA Bill” and that should not be in the introduction.  She further commented that political speeches could not be made in a proposal. Therefore he should refrain from comments such as ‘calls by the opposition’. His written concluding remarks would also be disregarded, as the Committee should not feel that he was pressurising it.

The Chairperson asked the guests to each give their input, and asked for written submissions to be forwarded by tomorrow.

Ms Ursula Fikelepi, Director, Legal Services, DPE, apologised that the Department had not prepared a written submission because it had not received a full briefing on the proposal nor what was expected of the Department. She had been able to speak to Transnet, who was invited to the meeting last week, but Transnet had indicated that they too did not know anything about the proposal or what was expected of them. She understood Transnet had sent a written response.

The Chairperson apologised to the Minister, the Department and also to Transnet. The new Committee Secretary was still struggling with procedure. When people were invited, the proposed Bill should be attached to the correspondence. If that had not happened, she apologised profusely; she was under the impression that that was done.

The Committee Secretary said she had sent the proposal to Transnet, not to the Department.

Ms Fikelepi said she would like an opportunity to brief the Minister and get his response and an indication of how to proceed.

Ms Fikelepi said that she had understood from her discussion with Transnet that Mr Minnie was proposing an amendment to the Transnet Pension Fund Act. She pointed out to the Committee that this Act was actually amended by a very extensive process in 2006, and the revised Act became effective in 2007. Transnet had held very extensive workshops and discussions with unions and with the Pension Fund around the amendments.

She pointed out the Hon member was proposing to amend Section 24 of the Act. However, there was no such section, as the current Act only went to Section 14, and did not expressly discuss pension increases. These issues were in fact in the rules of the Fund. The Rules were not part of the Act. They were published in the Government Gazette for the information of members of the public, but did not form part of the Act. Any amendments to the Rules would have to be proposed by the Board of Trustees in consultation with Transnet. If any amendments of the rules had financial implications then the Minister of Public Enterprises, with the concurrence of the Minister of Finance, must approve the amendment.

Ms Fikelepi regretted that the Department had not been fully briefed. However, this appeared to be a situation that should be dealt with by the Trustees. She was not sure whether any financial implications could arise from this amendment. Normally, however, any pension increase would have financial implications,  because it would automatically affect the financial state of the Fund itself. Transnet was the guarantor, so increases would affect Transnet’s whole financial health, and there would be implications for the State as the sole shareholder of Transnet.

Ms Fikelepi said that the Member had also stated in his presentation that there were some payments made by Transnet. Transnet, following her understanding, had taken a proposal to the Minister in June 2007; as the Minister had to approve any amendments to rules. The one amendment that would have a bearing on this was the introduction of a bonus payment for pensioners, and the Minister had approved that. Transnet would elaborate on the steps taken to ensure pensioners were adequately taken care of.

Discussion
Mr Ainslie asked for clarity.

The Chairperson explained that according to the Committee’s Researcher the Amendment Act of 2000 had contained a Section 24, but the Amendment Act of 2007 did not contain a Section 24. Mr Minnie would have to clarify which Act he was referring to. Transnet, in its correspondence had outlined the whole procedures, including the amendment of 2007 and the issues just raised. She urged members to read the submission by Transnet. She asked Mr Gary Rhoda (Researcher), Mr Minnie and Transnet to clarify the issue of Section 24.

Mr Minnie asked on which date the new Transnet Amendment Bill came into force.

Mr Gary Rhoda, Committee researcher,  replied that was in September 2007.

The Chairperson was very sympathetic to Mr Minnie, noting that all Members’ proposals were submitted through the Office of the Speaker, which should have brought to Mr Minnie’s attention the amendment in 2007 that possibly covered the area in the proposal. He was still in his rights to propose the Bill

Mr Minnie said his proposal and Bill was tabled on 18 May 2007, and the other amending Act was approved in September.

The Chairperson added that this proposal was only put before this committee in January 2008, notwithstanding the fact that it was lodged in May 2007. The office of the Speaker should have advised Mr Minnie about the amendment and asked him whether he still wished this issue to come before the Committee.

Mr W Spies (FF) said that the Public Enterprises Portfolio Committee had discussed the amending legislation that came into effect last year. At that stage he had made a proposal to the Committee, substantially similar to Mr Minnie’s proposal, so he fully agreed with that principle. There was a flaw in the Bill as proposed by Mr Minnie, but the principle he was proposing was critically important, and he felt that the Committee should look at ways to accommodate that. He said that the fundamental problem was the Pension Fund. Normally any pension fund worked in such a way that if there were any deficits in the Fund then those deficits must be topped up by the employer. Transnet should at least be giving inflation-linked  increases. If that caused a deficit of some kind in the Pension Fund then that deficit needed to be topped up by Transnet.
The problem was a clash of interests and he urged the Committee to work on this proposal and try to fix it rather than to refuse it.

The Chairperson asked members to bear in mind that part of the submission would be dealt with in terms of the Rules. The amending legislation of 2007 made it possible for changes to be made via the trustees.

Mr Spies agreed that this issue could be addressed in the Rules but the problem was the clash of interest. The Rules could only be amended with the concurrence of Transnet and the Minister. Transnet and the Minister had an interest in not changing that Rule because a change would mean that Transnet must put money into this Fund, and they would not do that.  They would never concede to an amendment that would have the effect of costing money because Transnet, although it was a State owned enterprise, was adjudged according to the Companies Act and to the principles that applied to companies in general.

The Chairperson interjected that for Mr Spies to say that Transnet would never agree was speculation. All those matters were very important. At this point the Committee would entertain his argument about the rules, and permit him to speak later.

Mr Ainslie did not understand whether Mr Minnie wished to amend the Act or the Rules. He suggested that Mr Minnie should get a copy of the Rules. An incorrect proposal should not be put before Parliament.

The Chairperson asked Mr Minnie to clarify what he was seeking to amend.

Mr Minnie clarified that at the time of tabling his proposal he had wanted to amend Section 24 of the Act of 2000 that applied at the time. This was the first time he had heard of the Amendment Act of 2007.

The Chairperson explained that the Committee could only consider what was before it. It could not give itself a mandate that was not passed through the Speaker. The mandate from the Speaker was to consider Mr Minnie’s proposal of May last year.

Ms Rajbally felt this was due to lack of communication. She suggested the Chairperson take this back and try to communicate with the Department, and thereafter come to the Committee with a factual proposal that the Committee could consider. She noted that the amendments and their effects should be considered.

Ms L Maloney (ANC) proposed working on what was in front of the Committee, as referred by the Speaker.  The committee should be proactive and tell the Speaker’s office what it should have done, so that this Office understood the situation.

Mr S Mshudulu (ANC) stated that the Committee represented Parliament.  It must be recorded that the Chairperson had confirmed the process. He believed that the minutes of this meeting should reflect Mr Minnie’s objections to concerns raised; that the Department must make a written submission so that the Committee would be able to interpret. Transnet’s direct response to the issues, that questions arising from the engagement had been made in regard to the Section 24 in Mr Minnie’s proposal. The issue as identified by Mr Minnie must be addressed, by asking in what way was Transnet acting to address the problem. If someone could confirm in writing that the issues had been addressed by the amendment Act of 2007, then the objectives would have been covered. The Committee would then just have to deal with what was before it. The Speaker would have to answer as to whether the issues presented had been addressed.

The Chairperson summarised the issues to date. She noted that she must now write to the Presiding Officer, on behalf of the Committee, to say that Mr Minnie’s proposal that was now before the Committee was set in May. However, since September 2007 the Act he referred to was amended. In terms of that amendment this problem could well be resolved. The Speaker’s Office must advise further. She urged Mr Minnie and the Researcher to check whether in fact that amendment and the new rules of 2007 fully addressed the problem that Mr Minnie had raised. The Speaker, Mr Minnie and the researcher would have to convince the Committee whether the problem was resolved or whether this Committee should give Mr Minnie the chance to restructure his proposal before the Committee, if he felt that the 2007 amendments had not addressed the problems he was trying to solve.

The Chairperson noted that Mr Rhoda had given his copy of the 2007 Act to the Committee Secretary but there were pages missing.

Mr Rhoda summarised that the 2007 Amendment Act did not contain a Section 24, but the 2000 Act had contained this section. He noted that he would have to check still whether the 2007 Act had specifically repealed any section of the 2000 Act. It was likely that the 2% increase could still be contained in the 2007 amendment, because it was a Pension Fund arrangement. He suggested it could be addressed by a small amendment in Mr Minnie’s proposal that simply referred to the correct section.

The Chairperson explained that Mr Minnie’s reference to Section 24 was based on a proposal to amend the Act of 2000. At that time the Amendment Act of 2007 was not in existence.

Mr Minnie asked Transnet whether the new Amendment Act or the Rules still had the reference to the 2%.

Ms Ursula clarified that the Transnet Pension Fund Amendment Act was adopted by the NCOP in about February 2007, and was assented to by the President in September 2007. The Transnet Pension Fund Act did not specify the 2% increase, as that was an issue dealt with in Clause 24 of the Rules. She hoped that Mr Minnie could clarify exactly what he was seeking to amend. The September 2007 Act would include the amendments made in both 2000 and 2007. With respect to the amendment that was made to the rules, that had related to a bonus payment to pensioners. The Minister had approved that amendment, with the concurrence of the Minister of Finance, in June 2007. The committee would have to consider whether it adequately addressed the principle raised by Mr Minnie.

Mr Mshudulu stated that all rules were governed by the Pension Fund Act. The rules were adopted by the trustees, and not by Parliament. The rules conformed to the Act in regard to the minimum increase, but the trustees could negotiate above that. He noted that the rules would become law once gazetted, but asked how they could be changed without further reference to parliament. Even if the rules could be changed at will, they must still be constitutional. He wished to check Transnet’s rules against the Pension Fund Act.

The Chairperson thanked Mr Mshudulu for raising these issues. She asked if this problem could be solved within the rules, without having to amend the Act, or whether it was necessary also to amend the Act to ensure that pensioners were treated fairly.

Mr Grobler clarified that the Pension Fund Act contained Section 1 to Section 14B. The Pension Fund Rules,  which were governed by the Act, went from Rule 1 to Rule 28. The reference to No. 24 was most likely to be a reference to Rule 24. That applied to both the amendments of 2000 and 2007.

Ms Fikelepi responded to the Member’s question to affirm that the rules must comply with the Act, but the intention was that the rules would give greater detail to issues dealt with in the Act, such as the pension increases, and would also instruct the trustees as to how they were to manage the Fund. The Act also dealt with the process of amending those rules. In order to amend the rules, the trustees would propose the amendment, take it to Transnet, then to the Minister and he would then engage the Minister of Finance where there were financial implications, because financial implications to Transnet ultimately would have financial implications for the State as sole shareholder. 

The Chairperson commented that pension increases would involve costs to the State.

Mr Mshudulu noted that he had chaired a pension fund for more than ten years. Trustees negotiated with the Fund on behalf of members. The Rules could not go below the minimum set by the Pension Fund Act.

Ms Fikelepi responded that there was no minimum set out in the Act.

Mr Maritz also confirmed there was no minimum benefit under the Act.

Mr Mshudulu explained that if there was an Act of Parliament moving outside the norm, then it was correct for the Member to seek amendment to the Act. In principle he noted that minimum standards would normally be regulated under an Act.

Mr Spies made the point that there was a great deal of sympathy for the principle of what Mr Minnie was proposing. The exact wording and the exact numbering may not be correct. He believed the Committee was mandated to work on an alternative. The Act had fourteen sections, one of which would probably be an enabling section, saying there would be the power to agree on and bring into effect certain rules. He believed this might be the section needing amendment, because it might have a proviso stating that those rules may not provide for an increase of less than inflation. If that route had not been taken then the matter must be left to the parties to agree on the rules.

The Chairperson asked the Researcher to check whether clause 24 of the Rules identified any springboard in the Act. Mr Minnie might need to go back and redraft his proposal, in which case it would be a new proposal and would have to start from the beginning. The Committee would urge the Presiding Officer to allow him to retable, but it would have to follow that route. Alternatively, the Committee could look into the Rules. She noted that there was much sympathy for the proposal and her initial reaction had been that the Act should not stipulate figures; it now seemed clear that this was in fact in the Rules.

The Chairperson asked Mr Spies, together with the Researcher, to get the amended Act and the Rules and to check whether the points that the Committee was trying to address had been sufficiently catered for by the amendment. He should suggest a way for the Committee to facilitate this process. Until this was done, the issue might well need to be put in abeyance.

Ms Carla Prentice, Executive Manager, Transnet, said that she was also not sure as to what Transnet was required to respond to. There had never been a Section 24 in the Act. Clause 24 was part of the Rules attached to the 2000 Act as a schedule with effect from 2000. She expressed her frustrations.

The Chairperson called Ms Prentice to order, as she was considered to be attacking the integrity of the Member.

Ms Prentice apologised and withdrew her statements.

Mr Minnie noted that he was prepared to redraft his proposal.

Ms Prentice continued that section 14 of the Act clearly stated how the Fund should be managed and how the rules should be amended. She noted that the Pension Fund and Transnet would like to sit with Mr Minnie and take him through the Act and the Rules, which they believed addressed the needs of the pensioners of the Fund.

She referred to the 2% minimum. The 2% was a guaranteed minimum, and she said that not many other pension funds had a guaranteed minimum.

Ms Prentice noted that Transnet had made a lot of progress with the Fund and had addressed a lot of the issues raised. She had become involved in 2004. At that stage there had been a crisis within the Transnet Pension Fund, as there was a deficit of over R5 billion. At that point, the Rules required that only 2% need be paid. The Trustees were asked to desist, from 2003 onwards, in paying out more than that amount until the crisis could be addressed. The Transnet balance sheet was not looking good. Transnet and the trustees had however been working together over the last few years to try to find a solution that would please everybody, and address both Transnet’s financial constraints and the needs of the pensioners. The solution had resulted in a strong Fund, showing a surplus of almost R2 billion, that was financially stable. Pensioners could be guaranteed that the deficit would not happen again. The Fund would be able to pay more than 2%, but this was structured as a bonus rule, so that the balance sheet could be protected while pensioners got more. The Pensions Fund Act regulated other pension funds, and should target some form of inflation. Last year Transnet paid R125 million in ex gratia bonuses to the pensioners of the Fund. The Fund itself paid 1,5% of annual pension bonus, so it had recognised the issues that pensioners faced. It had also run an indaba to explain the bonus system to its pensioners.

Mr Maritz extended an invitation to the Committee to see what had transpired and share what Transnet had done, although he did not wish to detract from the proposal. Transnet and the Fund had applied their minds to the 2% issue. They were prepared to sit with the Committee. This was a closed fund with 84 000 pensioner members, as opposed to Government Employees Pension Fund which had four active members to every pensioner member. There were only so many assets in the Fund and within those constraints it had been decided to introduce the bonus rule, massed assets and liabilities. He thought that it should share with the Committee what had been done Within the constraints of the environment

Mr Grobler reminded the committee that he was a trustee with a fiduciary duty toward the Fund so any amendments or proposals made in terms of pension increases should be taken by him to the Board of Trustees for consideration. He asked for the guidance of the Committee. He asked whether this should be tabled before the trustees’ meeting on the following Thursday.

The Chairperson replied that whatever the Committee was going to decide at the end of the day would be communicated to all the role players who had presented.

The Chairperson asked Ms Prentice if the Fund had moved from a deficit to a surplus by taking advantage of pensioners, and how long it had taken to move from R5 billion deficit to R2 billion surplus.

Ms Prentice responded that the move had happened from 2005 to 2007, on the back of a very strong equity market, when interest rates were in their favour, and from the sale of the V&A Waterfront.

The Chairperson responded that Transnet would have to convince the Committee about the matter. She further asked for details of the 1.5% bonus.

Ms Prentice replied that was a once off ex gratia payment. Transnet had paid this amount. It was 1% for everybody, with another 1% for those over 65. Those earning less than R1000 per month were topped up to R1000 a month. The Fund paid 1.5% to its pensioners, which was something that it could not afford to do on a regular basis. However, the bonus system would allow trustees to pay bonuses. There was enough money in the Fund for the trustees to pay every year.

The Chairperson asked if there were sufficient funds.

Ms Carla Prentice replied that there were, provided that it was considered as a bonus system.

Mr Mshudulu clarified that Transnet should be aware that from the time Mr Minnie brought his proposal, any information must be shared with the Committee. He asked the CEO not to undermine the environment for the benefit of trustees. There was a very serious challenge around the Pension Fund surplus. He commented that it was the duty of the trustees present here to communicate to members. This should be taken as an opportunity for Transnet to communicate with the Committee. Even investment and related issues had to be communicated because investments must be done through the guidance of the trustees. The Committee looked forward to receiving whatever information they had, on the Rules as well as the Act. He urged full communication.

Mr Ainslie noted that Transnet had 84 000 pensioners. He asked how other pension funds would operated in terms of bonuses. He further queried why Transnet had decided to go the bonus route, not for the pension increase. He was concerned that bonuses were not consistent, and did not give pensioners any kind of security. Finally, he asked for a profile of the pensioners.

The Chairperson said that it was not necessary to answer those questions today but that the responses should be sent through well in advance of Friday so members could apply their minds to the issues. 

Mr Spies asked for confirmation on an issue raised by Ms Prentice. She mentioned that the Fund would be in a position from now onwards to provide at least a bonus equal to 70% of the consumer price index (CPI). If that was correct, he asked if that had that been communicated to the pensioners. He was still getting enquiries from pensioners that gave him the impression they were not aware of that prospect.

Ms Prentice clarified that the surplus allowed the trustees to pay out a bonus to ensure that the pensions, plus the 2% increase, plus the bonus, would reach 70% of CPI every year. She noted that in order to raise awareness, Transnet had placed an announcement in the newspaper about the rules, and also wrote to pensioners and explained the rules, and held an indaba to which Pension Fund executives and other people involved were invited. The presentations had summarised the bonus versus the increase rules, but clearly these did not seem to have been properly understood. Transnet still had to protect its balance sheet. It would be preferable to do this via a bonus rather than a set increase.

The Chairperson emphasised Mr Mshudulu’s point that Transnet should see this as a communication opportunity to the nation through Parliament. All Members of Parliament had constituency members who were Transnet pensioners, and thus she urged Members also to take the opportunity to communicate privately to the pension beneficiaries and the public. 

The Chairperson concluded that she would write to everybody to remind them about the committee’s expectations of them, and would also communicate to Members between now and next Friday.

Committee business: Business Plan
It was agreed that a business plan from April 2008 to April 2009 would be developed and adopted during the first week in April at Maroepeng National Heritage Site in Gauteng.
 
Announcement
The Chairperson announced that on Thursday she would be tabling before the House a report on Mr Gerber’s proposal for the repeal of various Church Laws (which the Committee had supported), as well as the proposal to establish a Victims of Violent Crime Fund (which the Committee had rejected).
The meeting was adjourned.