Woman challenges pension provisions

Johannesburg - The Constitutional Court adjourned within minutes of starting a woman's challenge to her divorced husband's pension fund on Thursday.

This was to allow both sides' lawyers to have further discussions.

The court granted the request for an adjournment by advocate Isabel Goodman, representing Phumla Ngewu, and the Women's Legal Centre Trust, who brought an application for direct access to the Post Office Retirement Fund.

Court is expected to resume at 11am.

Ngewu was married to SA Post Office worker Mawethu Ngewu until July 27, 2007.

He is a member of the fund.

In their divorce decree, Phumla was awarded a 50 percent share of her ex-husband's pension interest.

However, under the rules of the fund, this does not accrue upon divorce, but when her husband terminated his membership of the fund.

She and the trust are challenging the provisions of the rules of the fund or, alternatively, the Divorce Act and the Pension Funds Act, saying they violate her constitutional right to equality.

The fund has admitted there is a constitutional defect in its rules.

It and communications minister Dina Pule have requested that the Concourt postpone the matter for six to eight months, as a legislative amendment process is underway to correct the defect. - Sapa