GEORGE NEWS - The Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) has advised former government pensioners who are still waiting for compensation in terms of the past discriminatory programme (PDP) to be patient.The council said the majority of pension redress payments will be completed by the end of June.
"It will differ from case to case. From the end of June, individual matters will be dealt with, resolving specific issues such as estate payments, verifying banking details, clearing the Sars status of applicants, etc," said the council's communications department.
They responded to queries the George Herald received from readers who are concerned about not having received payment yet in terms of the PDP, a programme that seeks to make good for discriminatory practices in the government employment sector during apartheid through a pension lump sum payment from the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) to qualifying former employees.
Payouts started during May after applicants had been waiting since 2012, when they submitted their applications. The council said all of the payments have been done for those individuals who are still in service, by adjusting their pensionable years of service.
"We have also paid out cash once-off lump sum payments to all qualifying beneficiaries that are currently still active pensioners with the GEPF. The only payments we have not done are where the beneficiary has exited the public service through resignation and we have to verify banking details, or where the beneficiary has passed away and we need to contact the estate or next-of-kin to do payments. These are really only a few hundred of the beneficiaries."
Concern over banking details verification
According to a woman from the Bloemfontein area who wants to remain anonymous, her mother discovered per chance three days before her payment would be deposited that the GEPF did not have her correct banking details.
She said they were told to supply written verification from her mother's bank, and that the payment would be stopped.
"We were shocked and are now concerned for other beneficiaries. Big sums are being paid out and it seems this could happen without prior checking of banking details," the woman said. But, says the PSCBC, the process as she sketched it, is not correct.
"Banking account verification is not done in one day and it is also not done at provincial offices. She should be patient as the account will be duly Fica-ed before payment is made. Further to this, we do payments only on Thursdays as that is the only way we can manage the load. Her allegation that payments are made without proper verification are unfounded and unsubstantiated."
The council also responded to a former government employee who lives in England and did not know about the opportunity to apply for redress at the time when applications were open.
He reckons that the government should have informed overseas former employees of the process too, but the PSCBC says although the PDP was extensively advertised locally, they did not promote the applications in foreign countries.
"It would have been a case of impossibility," it said.
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