Michael Marchant speaks to Sakina Kamwendo about the nearly R50 billion in Unpaid Pensions that belong to almost 5 million people in Southern Africa
“On the 15th of April 2021, Liberty’s application to have 23 pension funds that were unlawfully cancelled reinstated was heard in the Gauteng High Court. Open Secrets and the Unpaid Benefits Campaign (UBC), represented by the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS), made an application to join the application as amicus curiae in the public interest. We argued that we should be admitted as amicus because some of the material facts that gave rise to Liberty’s application were missing and which were the subject of our investigation The Bottom Line, as well as because the right to social security of many pensioners and pension beneficiaries was implicated in this and other future reinstatement applications.
The Judge in the matter, Judge Janse van Nieuwenhuizen, made Liberty’s draft court order an order of the court, without addressing or deciding on Open Secrets’ and UBC’s amicus application. When we wrote to Judge van Nieuwenhuizen requesting a decision on our application, which was unopposed and for which we were advised by the court would be decided on the papers (i.e. not needing a formal appearance in court), the Judge’s response was “Although the application to intervene was uploaded on CaseLines, there was no appearance for the intervening party and Judge Janse van Nieuwenhuizen accordingly did not deal with the application”. We are deeply saddened by the Judges’s unwillingness to apply their mind to our application and submissions, which is a matter of public import.”