Business Day reported recently that in 2016 pension and provident funds registered in terms the Pension Funds Act (PFA) were holding unclaimed benefits — or, more properly, unpaid benefits given that some beneficiaries have tried unsuccessfully to claim theirs — with an aggregate value of about R41.7bn. This figure had risen by almost R8bn from the R34bn reported by the registrar the previous year. The increase requires urgent explanation by the registrar. These are not social welfare benefits — they have been earned by employees and are due to them or, if they have died, to their dependants, most of whom are no doubt in desperate need of the money. The R41.7bn does not include unpaid benefits for which retirement funds that are not subject to supervision in terms of the PFA are liable, such as the Government Employees Pension Fund and the Transnet funds. The problem is even bigger than unpaid benefits for which retirement funds are liable. There are also unpaid benefits due by medi...

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