Millions in govt pensions unclaimed

Image courtesy Stock.xchnge

Image courtesy Stock.xchnge

Thousands of former civil servants have not claimed R456 million in pension money, the Government Pensions Administration Agency (GPAA) said on Tuesday.

“We have approached the department of home affairs and credit bureaus to assist us in the tracing of the beneficiaries,” chief operating officer Jay Morar told reporters in Pretoria.

“In addition, we have embarked on a tracing initiative in which we have engaged the services of a tracing company. Through this company, we have managed to record modest success.”

In December, the uncollected benefits amounted to R456m, owed to 17,000 former civil servants.

Former provincial government department employees had not claimed R271m, while former national government department employees had R185m.

“There is a touching case of one gentleman, in township lingo called a ‘street kid’ or ‘hobo’. He was found living under a bridge in Soshanguve, Pretoria, unaware that he is the rightful beneficiary of several hundreds of thousands of rands worth of benefits,” said Morar.

“Subsequently, he was paid what is due to him, allowing him to return to the studies that he had been forced to abandon after the death of his mother.”

The GPAA is a government agency that reports to the finance minister. It is mandated to administer pensions on behalf of the Government Employees Pension Fund and National Treasury.

The agency’s financial affairs are governed by the Public Finance Management Act while its human resources arm falls under the ambit of the Public Service Act.

In the 2013/14 financial year, the GPAA received R52 billion in pension contributions from members and employers. In the same period, 62,771 benefits were paid to outgoing public servants.

Morar said on average the GPAA received 2239 resignations per month. It had processed an average of 749 deaths per month over the past seven years.

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