The Pension Funds Act defines an unclaimed benefit to include amongst others: “any benefit not paid by a fund to a member, former member or beneficiary within 24 months of the date on which it, in terms of the rules of the fund, became legally due and payable” to that member, former member or beneficiary.
Trustees of retirement funds are obliged to ensure that members receive or are paid their benefits from their fund when they exit the fund.
Challenges faced by trustees with regard to the successful adherence to this obligation include:
Members who leave their employ due to dismissals, resignations, retrenchments, abscondments, or merely retiring without claiming their benefits. In some of these instances, the employment relationship would have soured so badly that the member simply packed and left (or was made to pack and leave immediately). The situation gets even more complicated if the member resides in a far off rural area, or is a migrant worker from another country. While some funds attempt to trace the members, the majority of funds simply do not have the financial resources to trace missing members.
The legacy of NBC started in the early 1980’s when its founder and visionary leader, Max Maisela, began actively encouraging stakeholders to negotiate the benefits and management structures of retirement funds to ensure members’ legitimate expectations were accommodated by their funds.