For Immediate Release: Thursday, 22 October 2009
The Black Sash calls on the Trustees of the Private Security Sector Provident Fund (PSSPF) - whose members include over 200 000 mostly poor and vulnerable workers in the industry – to take urgent and decisive action to address the administrative crisis and allegations of incompetence facing the fund. This follows a decision earlier this week by the fund’s administrators – NBC - to terminate their contract saying that the problems facing the fund were “beyond our control”.
The Black Sash regional offices (which provide free paralegal advice and support) have dealt with hundreds of complaints relating to the fund over the past few years. We believe those security companies who’ve failed to make payments to the fund, must also share the blame for the damning indictment by the Office of the Pension Fund Adjudicator, who recently classified the PSSPF as “amongst the country’s worst performing pension funds.”
One of the key issues afflicting the fund (according to NBC) is the non-compliance by large numbers of employers who are either failing to pass on workers’ contributions or to submit monthly contribution schedules to the fund. Added to this, upwards of a thousand private security industry employers have not even registered their workers with the fund despite their legal obligation to do so. It is particularly disgraceful that many of those who profit from our country’s high and violent crime rate are failing to protect the financial future of those who risk their lives each day in order to make a living.
The Black Sash would also like to take the Financial Services Board and the Department of Labour to task for failing in their custodial duties to make sure the rules and regulations relating to these pension funds are implemented, monitored and enforced. We call on both to take immediate, corrective and firm action to ensure the rules and regulations relating to pension funds are respected and upheld. Both should be ashamed about dragging their feet in this regard as it has led to the violation of these workers’ rights to a much-needed safety net.
The Black Sash also calls on government to speed up the proposed social security and retirement reforms and ensure they achieve effective regulation of the sector and protect the precious savings of workers.
For more information and interview requests, please contact the Black Sash