Old Mutual agrees to pay Molefi family pension fund after massive social media uproar

JSE listed insurer Old Mutual has agreed to a continued discussion with the Molefi family around a pension fund that needs to be paid out, after the issue was brought up and went viral on social media site X. Image via Sebabatso Molefi X account

JSE listed insurer Old Mutual has agreed to a continued discussion with the Molefi family around a pension fund that needs to be paid out, after the issue was brought up and went viral on social media site X. Image via Sebabatso Molefi X account

Published Mar 13, 2024


Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) listed insurer Old Mutual has agreed to pay the Molefi family pension fund, though further discussions were set to take place between the parties after the issue went viral on social media site X.

The issue of the R3 million unpaid pension fund went viral after Sebabatso Molefi went public with the matter.

A representative for Old Mutual told IOL NEWS that the issue was complicated and have given the Molefi family and their lawyers two options to discuss and come back to the table and discuss further as the matter was riddled with complexities.

On social media site, X, formerly Twitter, Sebabatso Molefi, stated that she and her lawyers had met with Old Mutual and that the company had put two options to the family and their lawyers.

Molefi said Old Mutual had agreed in principle to pay some of the money owed to her mother, but further discussions and determinations between Old Mutual and the Molefi family are set to take place before bringing the matter to finality.

Molefi asked for more clarity on each option and then she and her family will make a final decision.

It is understood that due to the complex nature of the case, the amount cannot be the whole R3 million pension value.

The amount to be paid is subject to further discussion between both parties.

Following a meeting between Old Mutual, Molefi and her mother’s legal representative on Tuesday the insurance company said that they believe they have come up with a positive engagement and way forward.

“We are working together with the family to find a solution to this complicated situation we find ourselves in, and the family and the family’s lawyers understand how complicated the issue is, so they are going to apply their minds, with their lawyers, on the best way forward,” said Celiwe Ross, the director of public affairs for Old Mutual told IOL NEWS.

Court order directing Old Mutual to pay

Old Mutual also made it clear that they cannot share any information around this issue as it would contravene legislation, but tried to clarify the court order that was issued.

“Old Mutual acknowledges that Mr and Mrs Molefi (the Molefi parents) sought to have an order made directing Old Mutual to make payments from invested funds.

“Such order would contravene relevant legislation, including the Pension Funds Act and Income Tax Act, and Old Mutual has advised Mrs Molefe of its views in this respect. Old Mutual will now engage with both Mr and Mrs Molefe's legal representatives (and if necessary, approach the courts) to resolve this matter expeditiously,” Ross said.

Post goes viral

Molefi went viral on March 5 after she posted on X that the company had failed to listen to a court order and needed to pay her mom’s pension money.

“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,” she wrote on X.

Molefi accused Old Mutual of giving her mother the run-around in paying out her pension.

We are sorry

Ross apologised for the way the company handled the situation.

The company was reluctant to engage and debate on X, formerly Twitter, stemming from the complexities of the case and their duty to protect the personal information of the individuals involved.

Ross has acknowledged that the company is facing a huge amount of dissatisfaction by South African consumers.

“The sheer number of customers that have voiced their unhappiness on X with regards to our levels of service is of huge concern to us,” Ross said.

“We apologise unreservedly to all customers who have been unhappy with the service we have provided and we are continuously looking at ways to improve this.”

Molefi stands with those dissatisfied with Old Mutual

Despite the fact that the case seems to be resolved Molefi told her followers on X that she and her lawyer raised the complaints many X users put forward throughout the week.

“Trust me when I say, I made sure I raised all your complaints today. This isn’t about only mama anymore. It’s about us. Our parents. Our granparents. Aluta continua,” she wrote on X.

Old Mutual share price

Old Mutual share price has recovered since the apex of the social media fire-storm.

The share price was trading at about R11.99 on Tuesday at 8.30am.

The share price was trading at around R12.21 on Wednesday at 8.30am.

Company profits

The insurer also noted that it had seen “exceptional growth” in new business that has driven profit up by as much as 45% when compared to last year.

Old Mutual released a preliminary company result statement on Tuesday and will publish its final results on March 27.

The company said that profit after tax would likely increased to as much as R7.59 billion in the 12 months ended December 31, from R5.23 billion a year earlier.

Old Mutual noted that high interest rates and a recovery in equity markets bloated their investment returns.

*This story has been updated to correct an earlier version of the story that stated that Old Mutual had agreed to pay R3 million to the Molefi Family. The company has agreed to pay in principle, but the figure to be paid will be the subject of further discussions between Old Mutual and the Molefi Family due to the complex nature of the case.

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