Woman challenges pension provisions

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Bloemfontein - A woman who is challenging her divorced husband's pension fund for a payout will appear in the Constitutional Court on Thursday.

Phumla Ngewu and the Women's Legal Centre Trust have brought an application for direct access to the Post Office Retirement Fund.

She 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.

Phumla is seeking to change the rules of the fund, so that interest is paid from the date of divorce.

She and the trust are challenging the provisions of the rules of the fund or, alternatively, the Divorce Act and the Pension Funds Act.

Phumla alleges that the rules of the fund violate her constitutional right to equality. The fund has admitted that 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.

Phumla has opposed the postponement. - Sapa

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