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Transnet has 15 Days to Respond on $9.5 Billion Pensions Case

May 9 (Bloomberg) -- Transnet SOC Ltd., South Africa’s state-owned port and railway operator, has 15 days to respond to an 85.5 billion rand ($9.5 billion) lawsuit brought against it by pensioners, according to the applicant’s attorney.

“The application was served on all relevant parties by May 7,” Wynanda Coetzee, a lawyer at Pretoria, South Africa-based Geyser & Coetzee Attorneys, representing the pensioners, said in a phone interview today. The defendants have 15 days to state whether they intend to fight the application, she said.

Two members of the Transnet Pension Fund and the Transnet Second Defined Benefit Fund have lodged an application to the North Gauteng High Court requesting a class action suit against Transnet and the managers of the funds. They claim there is a “legacy debt” owed to the funds of a combined 80 billion rand as of the end of March while 5.5 billion rand is owed from canceled bonds, it said.

The application has “no political motive and was not instituted by or at the behest or on behalf of any political party or non-governmental organization,” Coetzee said in a statement on the firm’s website.

Mboniso Sigonyela, a spokesman for Transnet, did not immediately respond to a phone call seeking comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kamlesh Bhuckory in Johannesburg at kbhuckory@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

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