PENSION PAID at long last

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

The Education Department has finally paid its long-serving former employee Ellen Leeuw her pension, thanks to Sowetan's intervention.

Leeuw, 72, of Braamfischerville in Soweto was sent from pillar to post for the past 10 years trying to get her pension. Her sad story was published on January 29.

She was a teacher for 28 years at Bensonville Training College in Herschel, Eastern Cape.

A Gauteng education department official telephoned her after he saw the newspaper report and promised to help her. Two cheques for an undisclosed amount were deposited into Leeuw's bank account a few weeks later.

"If it was not for Sowetan, I would still be without my money," Leeuw said.

She said she would use the money to extend her sparsely furnished two-roomed RDP house, which she shares with her two granddaughters and a great-granddaughter.

"The first thing I will do is add more rooms to this house because it is too small for us," Leeuw said.

She said she will also use some of the money to start a small business for her daughters.

Leeuw survived on a monthly old-age pension of R870 before she received her payout.

Pearl Seopela of the Government Employees' Pension Fund (GEPF) blamed the delay on a mistake.

"It was found that an incorrect exit date was written and submitted to the GEPF on her withdrawal form when she retired and the calculation was done for the incorrect amount. After a thorough investigation, the dates were corrected."

She said Leeuw also qualifies for a monthly pension and an additional lump sum.

"The arrears for the monthly pension will be backdated," she said.

Leeuw started teaching in 1968 and retired in 1997.