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Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has appointed a deputy Pension Funds Adjudicator (PFA), who has taken over from the acting adjudicator.
Gordhan appointed Muvhango Lukhaimane as deputy adjudicator with effect from the beginning of this month. For the past year, Lukhaimane has been chairperson of the Intelligence Services Council within the Ministry of State Security.
Acting PFA Elmarie de la Rey’s contract has expired, and National Treasury says she will not be continuing in this role. De la Rey is, however, still at the adjudicator’s office in an advisory role.
National Treasury says there has been a delay in appointing an adjudicator, and, because De la Rey’s contract has come to an end, Lukhaimane was appointed as a deputy adjudicator.
Treasury says this will give the Financial Services Board time to assess a range of candidates for the adjudicator’s position and provide the organisation with some certainty and stability.
The Pension Funds Act was amended in 2007 to enable the Minister of Finance to appoint one or more deputy adjudicators.
De la Rey has been running the office for more than a year since the previous adjudicator and the former Ombud for Financial Services Providers, Charles Pillai, died in November 2010.
Lukhaimane has a master’s in constitutional law, as well as various legal and other qualifications.
Before her most recent role as chairperson of the Intelligence Services Council, Lukhaimane served in the Ministry of State Security’s human resources department for six years.
Her previous experience includes principal officer of the Eskom Pension Fund, legal consultant for Liberty Personal Benefits and legal adviser to Sanlam Employee Benefits.
The new deputy adjudicator says one of her priorities will be to improve response times to complaints to the office.
Lukhaimane says she wants to raise awareness among fund members of their rights and encourage them to keep records of their fund rules and benefit statements so that they can supply the adjudicator’s office with all the information necessary to deal with their cases speedily.
Second, the office needs to find a way of dealing with companies that are serial offenders when it comes to paying over contributions to retirement funds, Lukhaimane says.