Employee on breadline as pension fund delayed for nearly two years

Thabsile Cele has been waiting for her pension fund for almost a year. | PHINDILE NQUMAKO

Thabsile Cele has been waiting for her pension fund for almost a year. | PHINDILE NQUMAKO

Published Jan 25, 2024


Durban — Life has been financially difficult for Thabisile Cele who is at loggerheads with the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF).

Cele worked at the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health KwaMashu Community Health Centre as a finance management officer until she was injured in May 2022. Cele collapsed at a local supermarket.

Cele claimed that her employers advised her to retire after she was given a letter from the occupational therapist stating that she was permanently disabled and therefore her medical boarding funds were cancelled. Cele had a hip replacement after a left femur fracture. Surgical repair was done on May 6, 2022.

Cele claimed she suffered frequent spells of dizziness, two of which resulted in head injuries requiring sutures (stitches).

“I am also on depression medication. The letter stated that because of my physical and mental challenges, I should be medically boarded.”

Cele said that throughout these months, her file has been going back and forth to the GEPF and Human Resources. This has been happening with little communication and no salary from her employer.

Cele claimed that the financial strain has led to her car being repossessed, her medical aid and policies have lapsed and she has been served by the sheriff of the court for her house to be auctioned by the bank.

“I am the breadwinner for five of my late sisters’ children. Their school fees have not been paid and they do not have uniforms, therefore they cannot go to school. I have pawned all my jewellery for us to eat.

“Would management survive 10 months without a salary? With these injuries, I need assistance but I cannot afford it. I sometimes take my medication on an empty stomach,” she said.

KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health spokesperson Agiza Hlongwane said Cele’s query should be channelled to GEPF.

GEPF spokesperson Matau Molapo said that they do not discuss pension matters with third parties and requested that Cele email them directly.

WhatsApp your views on this story to 071 485 7995.

Daily News