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PFA dismisses complaint as full benefits had been paid out

11 April 2011 Pension Funds Adjudicator
Acting Pension Funds Adjudicator Dr Elmarie de la Rey

Acting Pension Funds Adjudicator Dr Elmarie de la Rey

The Office of the Pension Funds Adjudicator has dismissed a complaint by a former farm labourer who was unhappy with his withdrawal benefit after it was established he had received whatever amounts were due to him.

T A Mokuma was employed by Vyfgang Boerdery and was a member of the Sizanani Provident Fund (first respondent), administered by Absa Consultants and Actuaries (second respondent).

In June 2007 he complained to the Office of the Pension Funds Adjudicator that that he had not received payment of his full withdrawal benefit for the period that he was a member of the first respondent.

He said he was employed by Vyfgang Boerdery from 1 April 1994 until 3 August 2006 and was unfairly dismissed.

He further submitted that he only received an amount of R540 from the first respondent and was dissatisfied with this amount since he had worked for a period of 13 years.

The second respondent submitted a response on behalf of the first respondent, submitting that the complainant’s membership with the first respondent commenced on 1 March 2002 until his withdrawal from it on 1 December 2004.

As a consequence of his withdrawal from service, an amount of R1 708.85 was processed and paid to the complainant on 25 January 2005, including an amount of R980 which was transferred from the previous fund.

The second respondent further submitted that in terms of the rules of the first respondent, the fund provided a lump sum equal to the value of the equitable share of the member as at the date of retirement or withdrawal. It concluded that the complainant’s equitable share was paid according to the rules of the fund and that the first respondent had discharged its duty towards the complainant.

The second responded further mentioned that the complainant commenced his membership with the first respondent again on 1 May 2005 and his services were terminated on 28 February 2007 resulting in the payment of a withdrawal benefit amounting to R540.87 on 5 May 2007.

Dr Elmarie de la Rey, the acting Pension Funds Adjudicator, said it was not clear from the submissions when exactly the complainant commenced his membership of the first respondent and when his employment terminated.

“The complainant submitted that he was in the service of the employer from 1 April 1994 until 3 August 2006.

“On the other hand, the respondents submitted that his membership of the first respondent commenced on 1 March 2002 until his exit from it on 1 December 2004.

“The respondents further submitted that the complainant again became a member of the first respondent on 1 May 2005 until his exit from it on 28 February 2007, which was not disputed by the complainant.

“It would, therefore, appear that the complainant’s period of membership with the first respondent was from 1 May 2005 until 28 February 2007.”

On the question of whether or not the complainant received his full withdrawal benefit, Dr De la Rey said the respondents had submitted an account of the different periods during which the complainant had been a member of the first respondent as well as the amounts of withdrawal benefits that were paid to him, which were not disputed by the complainant.

The respondents further attached documentary evidence detailing the contribution history which informed the amount paid to the complainant in terms of the first respondent’s rules.

In dismissing the complaint, Dr De la Rey said she was satisfied that a correct withdrawal benefit was paid to the complainant and that no further payment was due to him.

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