Many municipal employees in the North West struggle to access their pension payments when they retire and in some instances, their beneficiaries go through a similar process when they die. Those that are victims say this creates hardships for their families.
In the majority of cases, pension deductions are made but the monies are not contributed to relevant authorities.
Others, as in the case of Palesa Shashape struggle to access pension payments of their family members when they pass away, while in the employ of the municipalities.
Shashape claims that her family suffered, while the Mahikeng local municipality made it difficult for her to receive her deceased mother’s pension payouts.
Many municipalities in the North West do not pay employees their pensions. Some use their employee pension contributions to pay staff salaries. This often happens without the knowledge of employees. They only discover the anomaly when they retire and apply for their pensions.
In the Mahikeng Local Municipality workers say their pensions have been transferred from one investor to another. They claim that since 2020 their pension accumulation has dropped drastically. They also claim that some of the workers who went on pension have not yet received their earnings for unknown reasons.
They say they have tried on numerous occasions to seek clarity from the employer to no avail.
“When the year started, we started calling general meetings with members showing them that there is a problem with pensions and we did ask those who have retired and family members of those who have died because when children come to check the progress of pensions they will be told that the board has not sat yet for assessment. In June this year, that is when the board had a meeting to fast-track that process, after two years. Ask yourself how children went to school,” says Dineo Legabe.
Some retired municipal employees, who have not received their pension payouts, complain that the delay in payments affects their ability to take care of their families.
Palesa Shashape is one of the victims whose mother was an employee of the Mahikeng Local Municipality. After her death, while in the employ of the municipality, Palesa, who was her beneficiary, struggled to access her pensions.
After more than a year-long struggle, she has been paid only after the SABC news started making inquiries.
“Finally I got a payout from the pension fund. It took me a long time because I had to seek intervention from SABC News. I had to make sure that kids are being taken care of, and school fees are paid, but it took me so long because I ended up suffering financially because my mom was a breadwinner. I had to make sure that we eat until the money is paid out. There is still outstanding money for leave days. I do not know why they are not paying it,” says Palesa Shashape.
But unions in the municipalities are worried that there are pension members and beneficiaries that struggle to access their pension payouts.
“The situation has affected most of the employees and our members in different municipalities but also what we have requested our shop steward to do is that those who are able to work now if there is a delay in the payout of their pensions they must persuade the municipality to put them on a contract until their pensions are released,” says George Morapedi from the IMATU.
Action SA Media Statement.
Renaming a Municipality which was “Renamed” is a total Waste.
Date: 21 September 2022
For Immediate Release
None of the 22 municipalities in the province received a clean audit in the Auditor-General’s latest Report. pic.twitter.com/RSMKo51FIL
— Action SA North West (@ActionSA_NW) September 21, 2022
Meanwhile, the South African Local Government Association in the North West is aware of some municipalities that fail to pay pensions and says is intervening.
“What we do and what we have done is that we mediate between a member’s municipality and the pension fund such that parties entered into a payment arrangement and we monitor that. We have done that with Ditsobotla, Mamusa, we have done with Naledi. That is why we are telling you that Naledi has improved. So, we are monitoring the situation. It differs from one member municipality to the other. It is an unacceptable situation. We cannot run away from that. That is what we have inherited and we are dealing with it on merits,” explains North West Salga Chairperson, Khumalo Molefe.
Efforts to get a comment from the Mahikeng Local Municipality regarding delays and non-payment of pensions to beneficiaries were unsuccessful.
North West municipal unions up in arms over non-payment of pension benefits