2017-02-01

Former mineworkers paid more than R60m by unclaimed benefits funds

The funds consist of 11 712 pension fund beneficiaries and 57 450 provident fund beneficiaries.

Thousands of former mineworkers have been paid more than R60 million in unclaimed benefits over a two-year period to date, the Mines 1970 Unclaimed Benefits Preservation Pension and Provident Funds said this week.
This comes after the Mines 1970 Unclaimed Benefits Preservation Pension and Provident Funds embarked on an initiative to track down ex-mineworkers or their families in a bid to compensate them for their labour contribution during the 1970s.
The funds’ combined tracing rate has since improved to identify 62 percent of the total number of missing beneficiaries.
The funds consist of 11 712 pension fund beneficiaries and 57 450 provident fund beneficiaries, located in South Africa, Mozambique, Lesotho, Swaziland, Malawi, Botswana and Zimbabwe.
Chair of the Mines 1970s Funds, Sue Fritz, said they were making progress in identifying and compensating beneficiaries.
“We have identified 73 percent of the pension fund beneficiaries and families of the deceased, and 60 percent of provident fund beneficiaries and families,” Fritz said in a statement.
“We are extremely proud of our increased success rate which is due to expanded tracing initiatives.”
According to the Financial Services Board, billions of rand in unpaid retirement benefits are owed to former mineworkers from Southern Africa.
Mines 1970’s Provident Fund was established by the Chamber of Mines in 1970 for the those miners who were employed by its members.
Various reasons, including worker complications in verifying the identity of ex-mineworkers, migration back to native lands, as well as ignorance of their contributions, contributed to the funds remaining unclaimed.
Tracing agents now make in-person visits to the homes of beneficiaries to help them complete application forms and obtain other supporting documentation.
Fritz said a further tracing initiative would start in May when the Funds embark on roadshows in selected areas of South Africa.
“It has also meant the exclusion of dubious agents who purport to act in the best interests of beneficiaries but charge exorbitant agency fees to submit claim forms,” Fritz said.
“We continue with secondary tracing; 32 percent of the deceased beneficiary’s dependents have been located and provided with claim forms.”
Fritz said more than 19 000 beneficiaries traced were identified as deceased.
As a social initiative, the funds have also assisted the Compensation Commission for Occupational Diseases by furnishing it with details of successful traces for them to use for their own unclaimed compensation database.
“We continue to collaborate with other funds including the Mineworkers Provident Fund, Sentinel and Amplats, and cross-check each other’s data,” Fritz said.
http://citizen.co.za/news/news-national/1412729/former-mineworkers-paid-r60m-unclaimed-benefits-funds/