'Fund never paid me twice'

Thuli Zungu Consumer Line
Lucy Moteko's furniture was attached after she was accused of receiving her pension fund twice.
Lucy Moteko's furniture was attached after she was accused of receiving her pension fund twice.
Image: Supplied

Abacus Umbrella Provident Fund is accused of maladministration, harassment and wrongful attachment of a former member's goods when they should have been more careful when transferring her funds to another administrator.

Lucy Msiza-Moteko, 58, of Soweto, had a rude awakening when the liquidators of Abacus Pension Fund wrongfully attached her furniture two months ago.

Her previous pension fund administrators obtained a judgment against her without notification and wrongfully attached and damaged her goods before changing the locks of her house, she said.

Msiza-Moteko's problem started in 2008 after she resigned from her previous employer, CHC Chemicals.

Her pension fund was administered by two companies, R54,909 was at Lifesense and R113,342 at Abacus Umbrella Fund, she said. She received her total payout of R168,251, which she was grateful for.

"At the time of payment, the employer was transferring the employees to another administrator and I had completed the transfer form way before my resignation," Msiza-Moteko said.

"Three years later, without any letter of demand, Abacus Umbrella Fund issued summons claiming R113,342 from me with the assumption that I have been paid twice."

She said at the time she tried contacting Abacus without success and in the same period her tax consultant indicated that she owed Sars over R100,000 because of the duplication of payment, even though there's no prove that she was paid twice.

Last year, Abacus pursued their claim against her without providing proof of the funds' transfer from their bank account to confirm the additional payment to her.

The law says he/she who alleges must prove their claim, not the other way round, she said.

"They were negligent, inefficient and mismanaged our fund. I did not owe them and they had no right to force me to give them 10-year-old statements. I did not owe them."

It later transpired that at the time of her employment termination, Abacus paid out the pending transfer due to her and mistakenly, also included her benefit in the transfer paid to the new administrator, the Rand Executive Fund, shortly thereafter, she said.

"This error caused me so much pain when their sheriff came to attached my goods and changed locks of my house, humiliating me in front of my children."

Corne Heymans, liquidator of the Abacus Umbrella Provident Fund says they are fully aware of this complaint.

He said the Fund and its representatives have been interacting with Msiza-Moteko and her legal representatives over the past 11 years.

"Unfortunately, Ms Msiza-Moteko did not provide the specific information that was requested, and the Fund was forced to act on the information at its disposal to protect the interests of the other pension fund members, which led to the legal action against Msiza-Moteko," Heymans said.

He said Msiza-Moteko failed to provide proof that she was not paid twice until recently after the sheriff collected her assets.

"Msiza-Moteko had two further opportunities to state her case; once again a subsequent court hearing that was scheduled for earlier this year and a further meeting that took place in June, but Moteko and her attorney did now show up," Heymans said.

He said these attempts to obtain information and legal action came at a cost, not only for her, but also to the members of the Fund, which regrettable could have been avoided if she provided the information they requested from her earlier.

As for the damage to her property, Heymans said the Fund gave the sheriff instruction to execute the judgment through the normal collection process, but are not in a position to comment on how they handled the situation.

Heymans said they will await the Pension Funds Adjudicator's findings on this matter since Msiza-Moteko has also referred the matter to this office as well.

"We remain hopeful that the adjudicator's involvement may resolve the matter and are awaiting response," he said.

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