ConCourt to decide on Post Office case

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A full bench sitting of the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg. File picture: TIRO RAMATLHATSE

Johannesburg - The Constitutional Court will on Thursday decide whether to postpone a case involving the Post Office retirement fund.

In March, the court upheld a woman's challenge involving her divorced husband's pension fund.

Phumla Ngewu was married until July 2007 to Mawethu Ngewu, who is employed by the Post Office and is a member of its retirement fund.

According to their divorce decree, the wife was awarded a 50 percent share of her ex-husband's pension interest.

However, under the rules of the fund, Phumla Ngewu's portion of her ex-husband's pension interest does not accrue upon divorce and is only payable when he terminates his membership of the fund.

The ex-wife seeks to change the rules of the fund so that her pension interest, and those of other ex-spouses in a similar position, accrues on the date of divorce.

The applicants, Phumla Ngewu and the Women's Legal Centre Trust, challenged the provisions of the rules of the fund or, alternatively, the Divorce Act and the Pension Funds Act.

They allege it violates her constitutional right to equality because the rules do not provide for a pension benefit in the fund to be payable on divorce. The fund admitted there was a constitutional defect in its rules.

Communications Minister Yunus Carrim and the fund argue that the court should postpone the matter for six to eight months as there is a legislative amendment process underway to correct the defect.

The ex-wife opposes the postponement.

Sapa


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