Unknown claimant squeezes family access to dad's pension
The Nemamilwe saga is far from over even though the Government Pension Administration Agency (GPAA) paid the beneficiaries a week ago.
Natasha Nemamilwe approached Consumer Line for help in November 2016 after battling to get a payout from the GPAA.
Section 37C of the Pension Funds Act says the board of directors of the pension fund has a duty to identify and trace legal dependants within 12 months.
Nemamilwe said when they inquired about nonpayment from the South African Police Services in 2014 they were asked to re-submit the same documents.
This became a repeat performance as each time they inquired they were asked to submit forms anew until her mother, Sindi, visited the SAPS in September 2014.
She was told that the forms were submitted to the GPAA for processing.
Forward to early 2015.
They were visited by an official from the SAPS's human resources department who went to Limpopo to help in person with the same documents they completed in 2013.
"This time, we thought things were improving and hoped we would finally get the money but, no, it was another disappointing moment just like the previous year."
After Consumer Line's intervention in November 2016, GPAA confirmed that the family received only funeral benefits. However, it took a further 12 months for the Nemamilwe family to get a visit from a government official despite them undertaking to give it the urgency it deserved.
Their worry now is that the GPAA has not disclosed it was also entertaining a further claim from other dependants who alleged they were beneficiaries to her father's pension fund.
The communication officer at the GPAA, Mack Lewele, said the forms reached the GPAA on February 20 this year, not 2016 as Consumer Line mistakenly reported.
He said following the receipt of the forms, the GPAA was informed that there was an additional claimant.
"In such an instance, the GPAA is legally bound to investigate such a claim and make sure that the people who say they are entitled to benefits are indeed the right people."
However, this information was not communicated to the Nemamilwe family who said their father only told them of one child born out of wedlock.
Lewele would not disclose any more details about the claimants or their amount.
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GPAA communication officer Mack Lewele objected to Consumer Line's report of May 23, stating that it erred in the year in which they received the complaint.
He said the GPAA became aware of the family's challenges regarding their claim on November 23 2016, when Sowetan contacted them querying the matter.
"The GPAA was concerned about the undue strain caused to the family. It was for this reason that we decided to go beyond our normal procedures and dispatched an official at our Limpopo office to visit the family home and assist them to fill the forms correctly and submit to the SAPS."
This was done and the forms were again submitted to the SAPS. The forms only reached the GPAA on February 20 2018, not 2016, he said.
"We wish to advise our members that they should update their personal details by filling in the nomination form. This is the form on which a member provides names of people who should be paid in the event that they die."
Lewele said nomination forms "are available at all our offices and government departments and keeping it up-to-date makes it easier for families to claim and be paid on time".