Mines fund wants to dis­trib­ute claims worth R600m by 2020

The Star Early Edition - - BUSINESS REPORT - Siseko Njobeni

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.

PHOTO SIMPHIWE MBOKAZI

Min­eral Re­sources Deputy Min­is­ter God­frey Oliphant says the claims would help re­ju­ve­nate ru­ral economies.

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