£60bn claim rocks financial sector

Tens of thousands of workers employed in South Africa during the apartheid
era are claiming a total of $100bn (£60bn) in compensation from a range of
pension fund managers, international banks, insurers and companies.

The workers claim the pensions of more than 10,000 black employees were
withheld during the days of apartheid.

Their case is being taken by US litigator Ed Fagan, known for his role in
landing a $1.25bn settlement from Swiss banks on behalf of victims of the

Fagan has only named one defendant – financial services company Alexander
Forbes – but hopes to include others in the lawsuit.

In papers served on Alexander Forbes, a legal representative for the former
labourers, Gugulethu Madlanga, said: "We view this matter as perhaps one
of the greatest corporate, accounting, banking, financial services and pension
and benefit fund frauds in history, involving the wrongful accounting, improper
transfer and withholding and/or outright theft of tens of billions of dollars
in deposited assets in labourer/worker pension and benefit funds."

Historically, the South African government has been opposed to the
apartheid-related lawsuits, claiming they undermine reconciliation efforts.

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