R10bn unclaimed in mineworkers' retirement funds

Cape Town - There is R10bn of unclaimed former mineworkers' retirement benefits in various pension and provident funds, according to the Presidency.

Some of these date back to the 1970s, it said in a statement on Wednesday, which highlighted some of the progress made under leadership of President Jacob Zuma who celebrated his 75th birthday on Wednesday.

READ: How to submit an enquiry for unclaimed retirement funds

"The Financial Services Board is providing support to provident and pension fund administrators to identify former mineworkers who need to receive the pension and provident funds due to them some dating back to the 1970s."

The 1970s mineworkers' provident and pension fund has already paid over R20m to 7 200 former mineworkers, while the Amplats provident fund has paid R6.4m to 488 workers, stated the Presidency.

The reasons for unclaimed pension money include the failure by many employers or funds to provide proper information to employees, such as informing them of their entitlement to a withdrawal benefit if they resign, are dismissed or retrenched from their employment and how to claim a benefit when it accrues.

READ: Ex-miners to receive long-overdue pension benefits

Other reasons include poor administration coupled with a failure by the boards of retirement funds to monitor compliance by those administrators and the failure by many fund members to inform their dependents that, if they die in service, there may be benefits payable to those dependents.

The FSB assists members or beneficiaries in trying to trace benefits or shares of allocated surpluses they believe to be due to them if provided with relevant and sufficient information.

Mining

The Presidency added that the partnerships formed in 2012 with mining companies following the Marikana tragedy, known as the Special Presidential Package aimed at revitalising mining towns, continues to yield results.

"There are 351 informal settlements in the mining towns that are receiving support from Government’s National Upgrade Support Programme."

Various government departments implement various projects in the mining towns currently.

The Department of Social Development conducts community fieldwork through project Mikondzo providing support to mining communities.

The Department of Mineral Resources employs mine accident and occupational diseases prevention mechanisms through improved mine inspections, audits, investigations and monitoring of occupational exposure levels.

The Department of Health established one stop service centres to bring health and compensation services to former and current mineworkers in the mining towns and in labour sending areas. One stop service centres have been established in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape and Carletonville in Gauteng.  

"The Mthatha centre is fully funded by government and more than 3000 former mineworkers have already made use of the centre’s services.  Also, to date over 3000 current and former miners have already made use of the Carletonville centre’s services," said the Presidency.

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