Orphans' long wait for their money
Sowetan Consumer Line's intervention helps four boys
THE Mgevane orphans, who live in KwaBala Village in Eastern Cape, no longer have to depend on their relatives and neighbours for their daily bread.
The Mineworkers Provident Fund paid the four boys, Andile, Lwando, Odwa and Khayelihle, R600,000 last Friday, after a Consumer Line intervention.
The boys, who are over 18 years old received an equal share of R150,000 each.
The money was deposited into their bank accounts and a trust fund was set up for the young Khayelihle.
For the past nine months, the brothers were totally dependant on their relatives for their survival.
Kaliphile Mgevane, the boys' uncle, approached Consumer Line after battling to help his nephews to secure their inheritance since June last year.
Mgevane said he provided the fund administrators with all the information they needed to facilitate his late brother's sons' application. He said he was told the process would take less than six months to finalise because there were no children born out of wedlock who might come forward to claim from his brother's provident fund.
Mgevane said that three months later, he was told that he should not get involved in the matter because he was not a beneficiary .
So he told his nephews to take over the matter, but they did not even have the money to phone the Mineworkers Provident Fund every week to inquire about their payout.
"The distance to the fund's offices was a problem and I felt helpless because I was told I could not pursue the matter on my nephews' behalf because the company thought I had ulterior motives," Mgevane said.
He said his brother, Zwelivumile Mgevane, died in June while working for Goldfields mining company in Westonaria on Gauteng's West Rand.
He was survived by four sons.
"Lwando contacted the fund because Andile, the oldest brother, is mentally impaired," Mgevane said.
He said the fund's failure to pay out had caused a lot of strain because his nephews all attend school.
Mgevane said they had not received asatisfactory explanation as to why there was a delay in payment.
"You cant just tell beneficiaries that the trustees have their file every time they call and not explain why there is no progress," Mgevane said.
Stanely Mathonsi, chief operating officer of the fund, said that they were aware that the Mgevane claim took longer than it was expected to and he apologised for this.
Mathonsi said the normal procedure was to investigate if there are other lawful beneficiaries, for a period of 12 months, before a payout is made.
He said according to the Pensions Act, when a member dies, it is the duty of the trustees to try and identify all qualifying dependants and nominated beneficiaries.
Then, taking into account the circumstances, the trustees divide the lump sum of the funds in a fair and equitable manner.
He said when a nomination of beneficiaries form has not been completed and family members are difficult to contact, the procedure becomes complicated.
As a result there can be a delay of anything up to 12 months before the benefits are paid.
"But in this case, the delay was unnecessary since we had all the information required to process their claim," Mathonsi said.
He said a trust account was opened for Khayelihle Mgevane, 11, and a trust and beneficiary administrator will be paying a fixed income to the person looking after him until he reaches the age of 18.
"If he decides to go to a tertiary institution, his fees will be paid until he completes his studies," Mathonsi said.
A grateful Mgevane said that he will encourage his nephews to invest a large portion of their money for their studies.
"There is nothing better than education and without education you cannot get a good job," the grateful uncle said.