South Africa is sitting with R45 billion in unclaimed pensions – here’s how to search if you are a beneficiary

Around five million South Africans have unclaimed pension benefits, with the total pension pot now worth an estimated R44.9 billion, says the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA).

In an interview with Cape Talk, Olano Makhubela of the FSCA said that much of the money belongs to former workers and dates back decades to South Africa’s apartheid years.

“It goes way back to apartheid years when you had a migrant labour system, where you didn’t have a good system of identification. Because of the Group Areas Act, people literally had to change or hide their true identity to be able to move to another province to get work.”

He said these issues and several other factors have led to this R44.9 billion pension pot.

Unclaimed benefits include the following:

  • Withdrawal benefit – as a result of the termination of employment, retrenchment, or resignation;
  • Death benefit – where the beneficiary was identified but did not claim their benefit;
  • Surplus benefit – a benefit that became payable as a result of a distribution of surplus in the fund to active and former members of the fund;
  • Retirement benefit – as a result of retirement from the fund.

How to search for a beneficiary

The registrar of pension funds provides a central database on the FSCA website to assist public members in ascertaining through the search engine if there are any unclaimed benefits due to them.

An unclaimed benefit is any benefit that was due to a member from a retirement fund in terms of the rules of the fund that is not claimed by the member or beneficiary within a period of 24-month from the date the benefit became legally due and payable to a member.

An enquirer will be required to input basic information onto the unclaimed benefits search engine, such as a person’s name, surname, identification number, fund name,  and employer name.

On a successful match, the enquirer will be provided with the contact detail of the fund and/or administrator, the FSCA said,

The FSCA said it could only assist by providing the contact details of the relevant fund and/or administrator, where after the enquirer will have to contact the fund directly and then follow the normal claims process of a fund to prove a valid claim.

There are various ways to find out if you have an unclaimed benefit due:

  1. Visit the FSCA website, which has a built-in search engine to check if you are owed any benefits.
  2. Visit the Liberty website and add your or your relative’s details for a quick and easy check.
  3. You can call the Liberty contact centre by dialling 011 558 2999 or visit any of our Liberty offices or satellite branches located nationwide.

Read: Battle of the banks: Capitec vs Standard Bank vs FNB vs Absa vs Nedbank.

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South Africa is sitting with R45 billion in unclaimed pensions – here’s how to search if you are a beneficiary