Municipal Pension funds – Munisipale pensioenfonds – others as well

 

The Municipal sector today is a standout culprit for not paying over retirement contributions and took it for themselves.  The office of the Pension Funds Adjudicator (PFA) received 11,399 new complaints over the past year from aggrieved members of pension funds and the beneficiaries of deceased members.    This is a 16% increase on the previous year, and the highest number of complaints received in a financial year since the PFA’s office opened 20 years ago.

Pension Funds Adjudicator Muvhango Lukhaimane. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL

 

Rules of a Pension fund

Click to access 2.%20Rules%20of%20a%20Pension%20Fund.pdf

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Pension Funds Act 24 of 1956

Pension funds are required to be registered in terms of the Act
Once registered, a pension fund becomes a body corporate which is managed by its board, whose object shall be to direct control and oversee the operations of the fund in accordance with the applicable laws and the rules of the fund.  Such rules are required to be in a prescribed format and they are binding on the fund and its members by dint of section 13 of the Act.

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The main object of the pension funds adjudicator is, in terms of section 30D of the Act, “to dispose of complaints lodged in terms of section 30A(3) … in a procedurally fair, economical and expeditious manner”. In so doing, the pension funds adjudicator exercises a public power and also performs a public function as envisaged in the definition of “administrative action” in section 1 of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act 3 of 2000 (“PAJA”)

http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZAGPJHC/2019/162.html

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In her latest annual report, Muvhango Lukhaimane, the PFA, says most complaints related to the failure of funds to comply with the law governing funds and delays in the payment of benefits to members or their beneficiaries. This, she says, is a “grave indictment” on the pension fund industry’s commitment to treating customers fairly.

In many respects, non-compliance was concentrated in the large funds, namely umbrella funds, funds set up for industry sectors, such as the Private Security Sector Provident Fund, and industry funds, Lukhaimane says.

The non-compliance had to do with funds failing to collect member contributions from employers and their failure to act against an errant employer or responsible person, she says.

Along with the failure to provide basic information to members, such as benefit statements, the levels of non-compliance in large funds called into question the regulator’s policy to consolidate funds, “as it is apparent that the more removed a fund and its administrators are from the ordinary member and employer, the less compliance there is to basic regulatory requirements”, she says.

Such compliance matters should be tackled by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), Lukhaimane says.   Abel Sithole, the FSCA commissioner, says the unprecedented number of complaints to the PFA is of concern and require the regulator’s “undivided attention”.

Failure to pay contributions, delays in the payment of benefits to beneficiaries, lack of adequate documentation and records management, and poor or delayed responses from funds to the PFA have a direct impact on the welfare, and at times the right to dignity, of pension fund members, Sithole says.

In her latest annual report, Lukhaimane picks out the municipal sector for its failure to pay member contributions to the relevant pension funds.    “A number of municipalities in the Free State and North West provinces were unable to pay contributions to funds, thereby putting members’ risk benefits at risk for extended periods of time.” 

As a result, the PFA has granted determinations against municipalities that include the attachment of council property to satisfy the debt.

Earlier this year, the PFA found that the Kopanong Local Municipality in the Free State had failed to pay an estimated R58m in contributions to the SA Local Authorities Pension Fund. The council had deducted pension fund contributions from employees’ salaries over the past six years and failed to pay them over to the fund.

 

Lukhaimane says there has also been little improvement in the conduct of large pension funds mentioned in previous annual reports. She says that while the FSCA has appointed “statutory managers” to take over the running of the Private Security Sector Provident Fund, the backlog in responses to complaints and the conflicting information from its administrator, Salt Employee Benefits, mean that her office was often unable to finalise complaints timeously.

The Soweto City Council Pension Fund was also picked out for its failure to provide members and former members with adequate information relating to top-up benefits to qualifying members. The fund is the subject of an investigation by the FSCA.

In the year under review, 10,287 complaints to the PFA were finalised — 16% more than the previous year. The annual report says the PFA issued 5,316 formal determinations finding in favour of complainants in 88% of cases. Almost half (49%) of all complaints were finalised within six months.

Almost 2,000 complaints to the PFA were deemed out of jurisdiction, of which 1,355 were referred to other entities — mostly to the FSCA and the Government Employees Pension Fund. A relatively small percentage of complaints were referred to other financial services ombuds, which shows that consumers are largely aware of where to lodge complaints, the annual report says.

There was a 64% increase in the number of complaints settled without the adjudicator needing to deal with the complaint.

On the topic of delays in the payment of benefits, which was among the most common complaints against funds, Lukhaimane says it is concerning that even when funds and administrators were notified of complaints lodged against them, most errant funds made no effort to make payment.

Only a few funds, notably the large insurer-underwritten umbrella funds and the Contract Cleaning National Provident Fund, attempted to make good before the finalisation of the complaint, she says.

Their doing so led to the increase in settlements in those matters where there were no outstanding contributions.

Finance minister Tito Mboweni says that from the complaints disposed of by the PFA, “it is clear that market conduct remains a burning issue as funds and administrators continue to grapple with such issues as non-payment of contributions, late payment, and non-payment of benefits”.

 

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Munisipaliteite is al vir dekades werkgewers, wat ooreenkomste aangaan (aangegaan het) met hul werkers.   Meeste voorskrifte is ook wetlike verpligtings vanaf regeringskant.    Die ANC beheer sedert 1994 meestal alle plaaslike owerhede en soos reeds kennis geneem word, word die aftrekkings wat gedoen word vir spesifiek pensioenfondse,  nie oorbetaal aan die betrokke fondse nie.

Menseregteskendings vind plaas.   Dis diefstal en teen hul eie wetgewing, maar weer eens word B-BBEE amptenare geplaas om gulsig elke sent op te slurp wat hulle kan om die res van ons in armoede te dompel.    Dis nie ‘n nuwe tendens wat skielik kop uitsteek nie, maar ANC se strategie beplanning, sodat pensioenfondse soos die res van die land se infrastrukture vou tot niks oorbly nie.

So word pensioenarisse, selfs ondersteuners van die ANC of kommuniste, nie net in die steek gelaat nie, maar bedrog gepleeg, om die oningeligtes met leuens belieg om hul van al hul besittings te beroof.    Dan word die “amptenaar” die skuld gegee vir bedrog soos in die geval van die Guptas.   Elkeen kom weg met hul groot deel van skandaal wat teenoor ons die belastingpligtiges gepleeg word.

Dit het ook met die pensioenarisse van Transnet gebeur.

Op so ‘n manier word miljoene rande gesteel van munisipale amptenare wat vir hul eie oudag wil sorg en nie afhanklik wees van die regering en hul aalmoes afval nie.    Al hierdie skemas wat aan die munisipale amptenare afgedwing word met wetgewing vanaf nasionale regering, is deel van die ooreenkomste wat aangegaan word tussen werker en werkgewer.

Daar word ‘n X bedrag afgetrek en ‘n XXX bedrag word deur die werkgewer bygedra.    Die laaste paar jaar word die x afgetrek van amptenare, maar dit word nie aan die pensioenfondse oorbetaal nie.    Waarskynslik is dit ook nie net munisipale pensioenfondse nie of wat is die rede hoekom pensioenfondse skielik bankrot raak indien hul wel al die bydraes ontvang het.

Meeste pensioenfondse het ook ‘n verskeidenheid van beleggings in eiendom of selfs geboue waarin die fondse bele word.    Dus, as die munisipale amptenare daardie X bydraes aftrek en nooit oorbetaal aan die pensioenfondse nie, is dit diefstal en ‘n kriminele oortreding, aangesien daar miljoene by betrokke is vir eie gewin en veral as dit vir ‘n organisasie is.   Heelwat beland in ‘n privaat persoon se bankrekening.

Swart bemagtiging – B-BBEE – EE

Daar word myns insiens teveel B-BBEE en EE belange nagestreef as die werker se belange en privaatrekenings groei.   Wie word aangestel in sulke posisies om aftrekkings te hanteer wat aan pensioenfondse, selfs mediese fondse of werkloosheid oor te betaal?

Elke munisipaliteit het oudits wat jaarliks gedoen moet word volgens nasionale wetgewing en die ouditeure, werk of saam hiermee of ken nie hul werk nie.   Of die inligting word verkeerd “uitgegee” deur betrokke owerhede.

Hierdie ouditeure doen ook maandeliks, kwartaalliks en jaarliks verslag aan die munisipale hoof uitvoerende beampte wat weer aan die Stadsraad / Burgemeester rapporteer.   Nasionale wetgewing geld.

Op hul beurt word daar aan provinsie en minister(s) gerapporteer.   Dat so iets oor ‘n kwessie van jare plaasvind is dus ongehoord en onaanvaarbaar.  So iets raak ook die ou afgetrede pensioenaris se maandelikse uitbetalings waaroor ooreengekom is.   Sou die pensioenfonds vou, dan het die ou afgetredenes ook geen inkomste waarvoor daar soms 25-35 jaar diens verrig is.    Dan beland hierdie pensioenaris op straat, sonder inkomste.

Waarheen gaan al die geboue wat deur pensioenfondse aanvanklik aangekoop is – al hierdie geboue het rentes wat ge-in word?   Verseker verloor die pensioentrekker baie inkomste uit beleggings.     Groot sakesentrums is heelwat al met pensioenfondse aangekoop.

Wat het van die e-tol geword, wat in die Johannesburg omgewing gebou is met ‘n deel van die staat se lening van pensioenfonds?  Is dit al ooit terugbetaal?

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