Mines fund wants to distribute claims worth R600m by 2020
THE MINES 1970 Unclaimed Benefits Preservation Pension and Provident Funds want to distribute the entire funds – R600million – to ex-mineworkers in South Africa, Mozambique, Lesotho, Swaziland, Malawi, Botswana and Zimbabwe by 2020, chairperson of the Mines 1970s Funds, Sue Fritz said yesterday.
This is said to be a fraction of the billions of rands that different pension funds are understood to owe ex-miners.
Mineral Resources Deputy Minister, Godfrey Oliphant said last year that there was about R30billion in unclaimed benefits. Oliphant said a substantial portion of the R30bn was for former mineworkers.
“These are substantial sums that would do a lot to rejuvenate rural economies and labour sending areas where the mineworkers come from,” said Oliphant at the time.
The 1970s Funds said yesterday that they had identified 62percent of the missing beneficiaries in 25 months. In that period, the funds had paid more than R60m in unclaimed benefits to beneficiaries.
Fritz said, over the past year, investment yields for the funds had exceeded higher than inflation investment benchmarks.
The Funds consist of 11712 pension fund beneficiaries and 57 450 provident fund beneficiaries, located in different southern African countries. “We have identified 73percent of the pension fund beneficiaries and, families of the deceased, and 60 percent of provident fund beneficiaries and families,” said Fritz.
She said the increased success rate was due to their new tracing initiatives. These include the use of so-called tracing agents who make visits to the homes of beneficiaries to help them complete application forms and obtain other supporting documentation. “The visits not only assist the individuals in completing the forms but save them phone, travel, photocopying and postage charges given their limited financial resources.”
Fritz said 50percent of the fund beneficiaries had died. “We want to pay out everything by 2020. That is our target. If we maintain the momentum, that is achievable. We are trying to fix a legacy issue.”
She said more than 19 000 beneficiaries traced were identified as deceased.
Missing essential documentation such as copies of identity documents, and service records, needed to finalise the processing of those claims often delayed payment.
Mineral Resources Deputy Minister Godfrey Oliphant says the claims would help rejuvenate rural economies.