A medically boarded pensioner says he is at his wits’ end after waiting in vain for the Government Employee Pension Fund (GEPF) to comply with a Western Cape High Court order to have his pension benefits recalculated.
Christoffel Farao, 57, of Saron, is yet to receive his pension payout from the GEPF despite a March 2023 court order.
Responding to questions from the “Cape Times” this week, the Government Pensions Administration Agency (GPAA) committed to speedily resolving the matter.
Farao was placed on medical pension in 2012 after an injury in which he lost movement in his right ankle.
Farao said: “This has been a very difficult and stressful situation for me and my family after I became medically boarded during 2012. I had an injury on duty during 1994 while I served in the air force but I was eventually declared disabled.
“Even now, as they are in contempt of court, I am expected to pay a lawyer R25 000 to assist with that application paperwork and I do not have that kind of money.
“I have to travel in and out of Cape Town and during December I had to cough up R5 000 during November for legal consultation. I’m a pensioner and cannot afford it. We hardly had a Christmas last year. My wife is a seasonal worker who had to take on the job to see us through with additional finances that my current pension cannot cover. We have a son in matric who has academic needs. It is very frustrating that they cannot just comply with the court order,” said Farao.
He said his financial situation had put a lot of strain on his family and his mental well-being.
GPAA spokesperson Mack Lewele said recalculations were now being done after an independent actuary was appointed.
“The GEPF is aware of the matter (and) is engaging with the legal representatives of the applicant through its legal representatives.
“The GEPF is also currently considering the said calculations in comparison to the internal calculations being performed by the GEPF, regarding the amended exit reason. In this matter the court ordered that the member exit the fund in terms of a different service termination reason as was officially provided by the employer...
“Subsequently, the member brought a court application resulting in the amendment of his initial official exit reason to a different exit reason and different GEPF exit rule. Accordingly, the need for the recalculations.
“The GEPF will do its utmost to finalise the matter within the next two weeks pending agreement of the recalculated figures,” said Lewele.