Bontshi's long wait for pension

A former miner who has been battling for the last 20 years to claim his pension and provident funds might soon get his money.

Vuyisile Bontshi has been dependent on his divorced daughter for survival since he retired in 1996. Bontshi, 74, from Eastern Cape, said he worked for three mines for 32 years and was never paid his provident and pension funds. He applied for his money in 1996.

"Some of my friends died without getting their money and left their families in abject poverty. Others went back to retire in neighbouring countries without a cent," the father of four said.

He said for the last 20 years he has been going to the Chamber of Mines and its provident fund managers - Alexander Forbes - without success.

"All they did was point fingers at each other and never verified the legitimacy of my documents while I was left to suffer," Bontshi said.

In total, about R45-billion is owed to approximately three million people across the country, he said.

Consumer Line has seen copies of Bontshi's record of service issued by TEBA and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.

Bontshi's dompas has a handwritten amount which he was entitled to in 1979 when Crown Mines closed.

The Chamber of Mines also endorsed his pension fund of R339739 on September 6 1979, a month after the closure of Crown Mines.

He has not received that money as he was told he could only get it when he turned 65, he said. Bontshi continued working and contributed more money. He does not know how much he had accumulated when he retired in 1996.

Consumer Line took up his case with the Chamber of Mines. The head of administration at the chamber, Jeannette Hofsajer, offered to help Bontshi trace his money. She said that based on information provided by Bontshi at the time, the chamber had previously referred him to the mine's 1970 Unclaimed Benefits Preservation Pension & Provident Funds, which is administered by Alexander Forbes.

"The Chamber will investigate the matter urgently and will keep you (Consumer Line) and Bontshi appraised of progress," Hofsajer said.

Noxolo Nkebe, of the pensions enforcement and surveillance department at the Financial Services Board, said they would work with the chamber and assist Bontshi to trace his money.

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