How Old Mutual and Molefi pension saga opened a can of worms for insurer

A social media storm involving Old Mutual has resulted in scores more people coming forward about their issues with the insurer. Picture: Freepik

A social media storm involving Old Mutual has resulted in scores more people coming forward about their issues with the insurer. Picture: Freepik

Published Mar 17, 2024


A series of angry posts from a frustrated Sebabatso Molefi this week triggered a violent and furious storm against the Johannesburg Stock Exchange listed insurer Old Mutual resulted in social media storm.

It all began on March 5, when Molefi started tweeting Old Mutual furiously, but most of the posts only caught the public’s attention at the weekend and the media, this week, leading to a reputational and public relations nightmare for the insurer.

Since then, they have since apologised, met the aggrieved Molefi’s and their lawyers, made some concessions and have come to an agreement in principle, while also ousting details about the Molefi’s divorce, which is believed to be the source of the complexities the insurer had been talking about.

On March 5, 2024, Molefi wrote on X. “Dear @OldMutualSA please advise why you are refusing to release my mother’s money even though a court order has been provided. You are in contempt of court and I am about to lose my cool right now.”

Following the post from Molefi, Old Mutual was battered on social media, as more and more people shared their own experiences, leading to boycott calls and some advocating for others to transfer their investments away.

One of those people was, Nthaby Shantelle Ncamane, who said that her situation resulted in a family feud.

Ncamane said her grandfather, who used to work for the government, took out a policy with Old Mutual for himself and for her grandmother.

In 2019, when Ncamane’s grandfather died, they went to Old Mutual to make a claim.

Ncamane said: “They assisted us and advised us to make an Old Mutual card instead of using our own bank. When we received the payout its was only R4,000 instead of R10,000.”

Another X user, only named as Abuti Niza, said that she was investing R500 a month through an Old Mutual investment from January 2023 to November 2023.

“In December I wanted to get my money back but I never got it.”

Clifton Geswint said when his dad died in January 2024 he submitted a claim from Old Mutual although he had trouble keeping up with his instalments.

Old Mutual had given him until 16 December 2023 to pay up all of his instalments but he missed the deadline.

“When my dad passed away I offered to pay up all of the instalments that was due and I appealed to their humanity, but they didn’t listen.”

Following a press conference on Wednesday about the Molefi matter, Old Mutual said in a media statement that they were reluctant to talk about matters between the two individuals.

However, based on the public interest in this matter and the damage to reputation of Old Mutual there is no alternative but to provide specific context to this case.

Old Mutual said that the Molefi case is a complex matter that involves a divorce decree on pension assets, that was received after a customer's retirement had been processed.

“We proposed two alternatives at a meeting with the non-member's representatives on Tuesday, and followed up with detail of what the standard expected tax impacts of each option would be yesterday.”

“We are committed to helping to ensure full and final settlement between the two individuals as envisaged in their divorce agreement,” Old Mutual said.

Regarding other complaints on social media, Old Mutual said that the number of customers that have voiced their unhappiness on X with regards to their service is of huge concern and they are actively looking at ways to improve.

Denise Gabriel, the Long-Term Ombudsman from the National Financial Ombud Scheme said that there was recourse available to people if they experience issues with their insurer.

According to Gabriel, people need to complain directly with the insurer that have issues with.

If they are not satisfied with the result then they should contact and write to the National Financial Ombud Scheme to make a complaint.

Gabriel said no lawyers would be involved and the process was free.

According to Gabriel, the time-period for the complaints process depends on the complexity of the issue and people should know that they can make their complaints in all 11 of the official languages of South Africa.

Should compensation be involved, the NFO will help complainants through the process.

All complaints are treated confidentially and are only shared between the complainant, the insurer and the office of the ombudsman.

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