Pensioner blames his boss for no grant

A BENONI pensioner is battling to get his pension grant because, he says, his employer still wants his services against his will.

A BENONI pensioner is battling to get his pension grant because, he says, his employer still wants his services against his will.

But the employer denies this.

The pension administrator has confirmed that the services of the aggrieved employee has not been terminated.

Despondent and now sickly, Issac Mwelase says he wants his money before he dies.

"I do not want my family to suffer at the hands of Maxi Prest and Mibco like I did," Mwelase says.

His son Thabo, who accompanied the pensioner to Consumer Line, says Maxi Prest Tyres and the pension administrator's Motor Industry Bargaining Council (Mibco) are sending his father up and down like a yo-yo.

"And the old man is not deriving any pleasure from all these ups and downs," Thabo says.

Mwelase says when he turned 65 in April 2009 he told his employer he wanted to retire at the end of that year.

He completed all the necessary forms and submitted them in May last year. But in August his forms were returned to his employer because Maxi Prest had not signed them.

"He had submitted my retirement application at the same time as a colleague and his application went through without any hiccups," Mwelase says.

"Then came December and only my colleague was given a grand farewell and a number of gifts. I got nothing, not even my pension payout."

On enquiry he was told that he will personally have to submit his application forms at the pension administrators in Randburg, Gauteng.

He did so in January and was told to wait for three months for his payout.

When he called Mibco in April he discovered that his employer had not removed his name from their payroll system.

This made it impossible for Mibco to process his application and his employer said there was nothing he could do either, Mwelase says.

"My employer is now giving me the runaround. I have no source of income and I do not know what I have done to my employer to deserve this," he says.

He says he recently learnt from his former colleague that Maxi Prest was not willing to let him go because they would be left without a driver for their staff.

Consumer Line spoke to Frik Storm of Max Prest, who says he does not want to comment on the matter because all he wanted was to keep Mwelase in his employ until his pension application was resolved.

"You can write whatever you want because there is nothing I can do to help Mwelase," Storm says.

He says Consumer Line can communicate with him through his attorneys.

Last Friday Mibco said they could not give Mwelase his money because his employer had not terminated his services.

"We received Mwelase's last pension contribution in February this year and no termination has been done," Hannetjie Muller of Mibco says.

She says if Maxi Prest is having a problem submitting Mwelase's termination notice on line, they should have called and notified them, but they never did.

"And if they wanted to do it manually they should have done so as there is nothing stopping them," Muller says.

Consumer Line later received a contradictory response from Costa Kolastis of Maxi Prest.

He says they did not retain Mwelase's service against his will.

"Mwelase continued working with us as he preferred to be paid until his benefits were confirmed by the administrators.

"This was a common practice by personers waiting for retirement at that outlet. He left on his own accord in May this year," Kolastis says.

But Mwelase says he has not been in their employ since December.

Kolastis says they have complied with all the requirements for Mwelase to receive his pension grant and are at a loss about the allegation that he is still in their employ.

"What we are aware of is that the Mibco site has problems about payments and records and certainly cannot comment on what they say," Kolastis says.

Kolastis did not respond to comments by Muller.