The board of Tongaat Hulett may have to contend with more than frustrated shareholders at its annual general meeting next week. The latest issue of Noseweek contains a timely reminder of the company’s drawn-out battle with its pensioners, some of whom might be tempted to make the trip to KwaZulu-Natal to attend the meeting. At the end of May, the Supreme Court of Appeal upheld an earlier ruling by the High Court in Durban that Tongaat had legally taken R363.2m from the Tongaat-Hulett Defined Benefit Pension Fund when it was wound up in 2012 and its 2,500 members transferred to an Old Mutual Benefit Fund. Not only did they lose the case, the pensioners were ordered to pay Tongaat’s legal costs. It must be a bitter disappointment to the pensioners, who alleged their fund had been looted over a five-year period. Making things even worse is that the Old Mutual fund has provided disappointing returns for them. The grim reality is that Tongaat is far from being the first company to use pe...

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