Black Sash Media Statement – For Immediate Release: Wednesday, 3 August 2010
The Black Sash is appealing to members of the Private Security Sector Provident Fund (PSSPF) who have unpaid claims to re-submit them to ABSA Consultants and Actuaries (ACA) as soon as possible. It follows assurances from the new administrator of the 150 000-member fund that they will process outstanding claims within two weeks of receiving them. Members can hand their claim forms in at any ABSA branch, together with a copy of their ID and a recent bank statement.
ACA was appointed in January by the Board of Trustees of the PSSPF - one of the largest occupational umbrella retirement funds in the country – following the resignation of NBC. Black Sash Advocacy Programme Manager Ratula Beukman says the human rights organisation has dealt with hundreds of complaints relating to the fund over the past few years. “We estimate that there must be a backlog of around 60 000 claims countrywide, mainly from poor and vulnerable workers in the security sector. The new administrators have advised us that they can process benefit payments within two weeks if members re-submit their claims. Our provincial offices can help those who are struggling to navigate the system or fill in new claim forms or track down their original claims.”
While under the guardianship of NBC, the Private Security Sector Provident Fund was repeatedly referred to the Pension Funds Adjudicator, mainly over its failure to pay benefits to members and their dependents. Besides the administrative failings at NBC, the fund also suffered as many security firm employers either failed to register their staff as members or pay over their monthly contributions to the fund.
“It is particularly disgraceful that many of these private security firms who profit from our country’s high and violent crime rate, have failed to protect the financial future of those who risk their lives each day in order to make a living. We believe employers who fraudulently pocket the contributions of members and fail to pay over their monies to the fund should face prosecution. The Pension Fund Act should be amended to criminalise such a gross violation. We would strongly advise members to report these private security firms to the Pensions Fund Adjudicator or the Registrar of Pensions Fund Act,” insists Beukman.
In light of the injustices experienced by tens of thousands of members of the PSSPF, the Black Sash also calls on government to speed up the proposed social security and retirement reforms to ensure that they achieve effective regulation of the sector and protect the precious savings of workers as well as their social security rights.
To find out more about your pension and provident fund rights, you can download and print out the Black Sash ‘You and Your Rights: Pension and Provident Funds’ flyer.
For interview requests, please contact:
Black Sash Advocacy Programme Manager
Cell: 072-174 3507
Black Sash Provincial Advocacy Manager
Cell: 083-658 7097
Black Sash Paralegal
For more information, please contact:
Black Sash Media Officer