1 October 2017

Zimbabwe: Delta Corp Pension Fund Battle Rages On

Beverages manufacturer Delta Corporation has told its former workers who are demanding proceeds from a contentious pension fund that was set up following the de-mutualisation process in 2001 to seek redress from the courts, businessdigest has established.

The protracted dispute over the pension fund, which has remained unresolved for over a decade now, has spilled over into parliament numerous times, with the country's top brewer insisting that it does not owe anything to its pensioners.

In 2014, the then Delta's workers committee chairperson John Mashumba told a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee that the company had diverted proceeds from the Old Mutual de-mutualisation funds to a trust fund.

However, Delta insisted that the de-mutualisation fund did not accrue to individual members in the pension fund.

The pension fund was established in 2001 when Delta was allotted shares by Old Mutual following the de-mutualisation process.

Over the years, the beer maker has grown exponentially, injecting over US$43 million in setting up new bottling lines which has asserted the company's status as the country's leading beverages manufacturer.

Through individual correspondences addressed to Delta's human resources executive in July this year, the aggrieved former workers wrote to the company demanding disbursement of proceeds from the pension fund.

But Delta has remained resolute in its stance, advising the disgruntled former workers to approach the courts.

In its latest correspondence addressed to the affected ex-workers in July this year, the beverages manufacturer states that it does not "owe anyone any demutualisation proceeds".

"First, we wish to make it categorically clear that Delta does not owe anyone any de-mutualisation proceeds," human resources executive -- lagers beer business Kennedy Munda wrote in a letter dated July 4 2017.

"The claim that Delta has de-mutualisation funds is nothing but a figment of some people's wild imagination.

"Our advice to you (former employees) if you remain unsatisfied with this explanation is to approach Old Mutual or the regulator of pensions. The business looks forward to a day when the courts can bring finality to this matter."

In an earlier correspondence addressed to the former employees by Delta and signed by the then principal officer, Alex Makamure, the brewer warned that it would seek to recover costs arising from any lawsuit.

"We also state upfront that the company reserves the right to recover any costs arising from defending this claim," said Makamure in a letter dated December 29, 2014.

According to documents in possession of businessdigest, though the matter has not yet been heard before the courts, a group of Delta's former employees have sought legal counsel from Hute and Partners Legal Practitioners demanding proceeds from the controversial pension fund.

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