State calls on former employees to collect unclaimed benefits

The government has called on retired public servants and their beneficiaries to apply for unclaimed and unpaid pension benefits, which amount to more than R1.6bn.
Public Service and Administration Minister Ayanda Dlodlo said on Monday the Government Pensions Administration Agency (GPAA) had 44,190 cases of unpaid and unclaimed benefits as of May 2018.
The GPAA administers pensions on behalf of the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF). Unclaimed benefits are accumulated as a result of the rejection of incorrect documentation, including the identity of beneficiaries, as well as member tax matters, incorrect banking details and family disputes.
While unpaid benefits are settlements that are more than 24 months old from the exit date of employees from the public service, the mode of exit is unknown and there were no exit documents, resulting in amounts being based on the minimum benefit payment.
The GPAA is dealing with 26,919 cases of unpaid benefits that amount to R907.1m, while there are 17,271 cases of unclaimed benefits valued at a total of R698.9m.
Dlodlo called on government departments and trade unions, among other stakeholders, to alert public servants to the benefits and the need to apply.
"The minister also calls on family members and/or beneficiaries of deceased former public servants to contact the GEPF to ascertain whether they are entitled to any unclaimed pension benefits," read a statement issued by the department.
Long-Standing Issue
The country has had a problem with unpaid and unclaimed retirement fund monies for years, with the Financial Services Board estimating more than R20bn is due to more than 3-million people.
This was mainly due to invalid contact details on pension and provident fund members’ records, emigration and death, among other reasons.
While some of the former employees would have been paid upon retirement, more monies could have accrued thereafter, which would also be owed to them.
The GPAA planned to work with community development workers and hire 20 full-time tracing agents and 10 external service providers to trace beneficiaries. Other interventions included the deployment of 10 mobile vans in all provinces and quarterly national road shows.
The highest amount of unclaimed and unpaid benefits, at R514.1m, was at national government level.
Meanwhile, KwaZulu-Natal provincial departments came second, with R370.2m in unclaimed benefits.
The GPAA has a backlog of 14,932 cases.
Dlodlo said former public servants who had not claimed their pension benefits should approach their "closest regional walk-in centres of GEPF in all nine provinces to apply for their unclaimed benefits".



The Government Pensions Administration Agency(GPAA) says that cases of corruption and maladministration involving unclaimed pensions are being investigated by the Commercial Crime and Assets Forfeiture Units.
The GPAA has also confirmed that over R400 million remains unclaimed by pensioners or their families.
Eyewitness News began investigating the unclaimed pensions after being approached by several people who claimed that pension funds were being looted.
The GPAA has dismissed reports that an internal investigation has found that at least R100 million is unaccounted for.
However, the agency’s Mack Lewele says corruption within the agency is receiving attention.
“The corruption report that we received [was] investigated internally in the organisation and we found that there was cause to following them up.”
Lewele has called on the families of deceased government employees to come forward so that the appropriate funds can be allocated.



Ex-mineworkers to claim for unemployment insurance

There is still time for ex-mineworkers who left employment in the mines prior to 1 April 2002 to make applications for unclaimed benefits from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).
This can be done during departmental visits and follows after a successful campaign for unclaimed benefits by the Department of Labour in the Frances Baard and parts of the Pixley ka Seme District from 30 May to 26 June.
The campaign started in Hartswater, and already yielded positive results with a turnout of 729 applicants and 358 applications already processed for payment.
Kebalepile Khula, the Northern Cape’s communication officer of the Department of Labour, says all ex-mineworkers who left their employment after 2002 will be assessed in line with the Unemployment Insurance Act of 2001.
The department urges all potential ex-miner applicants to bring along several documents for verification: an identity document, access card and IRP5 (from the previous mine employer), old “blue card”, previous salary advice or any proof of mine employment (including “Ma­khulu’s kop” card, “dompas” or Teba record).
The dates of the campaign in the John Taolo Gaetsewe District, where mineworkers can be served free of charge, will be communicated.