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going the extra mile, strongly shows that during the year, the administration stood as a pillar of strength. Going forward there can be no other outcome as one of going from strength to strength with a certainty that EPPF UNITED will meet all challenges with a vision of success.
Message from the Chief Executive
Over the past two years much has been written and reported about the global economic crisis that has negatively affected the investment and financial markets both globally and locally. As the EPPF (the Fund) invests in the markets (some 66% being in local bonds and equities) we have not been spared the wrath of the market turmoil. As a result the Fund, as with many other funds invested in the markets, has experienced negative investment returns over the past financial year (1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009) for the second year in succession. Based on a review of the available history of the Fund going back almost 25 years to 1 January 1985, this will be the first time that the Fund has failed to achieve a positive real return for a second consecutive year. However, as we have mentioned many times in the past, the Fund invests for the long-term and if it adheres to its long-term investment strategy it should weather the storm of the current volatility. At this time, the Fund is still in the process of completing the annual financial report and we will share the Fund’s official results in the next edition of Pensioner Talk. On a positive note, the second quarter of 2009 (April to June) was one of the better performing quarters for the local equity markets in a while with the All Share index yielding 8.65% - up from the previous quarter (although the annualised figures still remain negative). These positive signals together with the various global stimulus packages, low interest rates and low global inflation are some signs of a possible economic recovery.
The past financial year has been one of maximum united effort from EPPF staff. In an effort to improve our service delivery we embarked on a mission to enhance our efforts, training and systems to ensure that we provide best possible service to our valued members and pensioners. Based on some of the feedback that we received from you during our roadshows throughout the year, we are definitely on the right track. We continue to train our call centre staff and administrators and continued work on the upgraded administration system will eventually add to our enhanced customer service.
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On a personal note
Looking to the future I regretfully have to announce that I will be leaving the service of the Fund to take up another challenging position in the retirement fund industry. The relatively short time that I have been with the Fund has been as challenging as it has been enjoyable. However, I always maintained that the organisation is larger than the individual and I am confident that the management team will continue to carry out its responsibilities in an exemplary manner. I thank you for the opportunity to serve you. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our Board of Trustees and staff for all their positive endeavors and commitment during my time with the Fund. Good bye. Salani kahle! Bonga Mokoena
Pension increase policy EOS
ension Fund Adjudicator’s P retirement funds’ scorecard edical aid matters … M ensioner news … 100 P years old – what a milestone! anking details B ccess to the Witbank offices A
ndwe short-term insurance I
“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. it’s the life in your years.” – Abraham Lincoln Welcome to the last edition of Pensioner Talk for 2009. It’s that time of the year when we start winding down from a busy year and look forward to the joy of the coming festive season. It’s also time to take care of some administration issues – like medical aid, pensioner increases, policies and others. We have included some information to remind and help you when sorting out some of these matters. We hope that you find this edition interesting and informative. As always, we truly value your feedback so please contact us and have your say. Warmest regards toni slabbert
Pension increase policy …
At the time of going to press it was not yet known what pension increase will be granted to pensioners from 1 January 2010. We do, however, now take the opportunity to share the Fund’s pension increase policy again with you. the Fund’s pension increase policy reads as follows: “The policy of the Fund is to grant a pension increase on 1 January each year equal to the year-on-year increase in the ‘Headline’ Consumer Price Index (as published by the South African Department of Statistics). If the Fund’s investment performance over the period to the preceding 30 June is such that it cannot afford such an increase, the Trustees will grant, subject to the Rules, a lower increase that can be afforded without placing a strain on the Fund.” The date of 30 June marks the end of the Fund’s financial year, which extends from 1 July to 30 June each year. The Fund’s rules specify that if the annual rate of interest earned on the total Fund monies is less than 6%, then the pension increases will not be less than 2%.
Evidence of survival Forms
It is at this time of the year that certain staff members at the Fund eat, sleep and breathe yellow paper! Yes, the Evidence of Survival (EOS) forms are coming in thick and fast through the post, and others are being hand delivered to the Fund’s offices in Bryanston and Witbank. not received the form, please do not despair, rather phone the Fund (0860 11 45 48) to find out if we have received your form in the meantime. Unfortunately, it is our experience that forms do sometimes get lost in the mail. If the message on your pay slip still indicates that we have not received your form two or more months after you have posted it, please contact the Fund urgently so that, if need be, we can forward you another form, or fax it to speed up the process. Remember that the dreaded month is April, when the pension payments are suspended for those pensioners from whom we have not received the EOS forms. As the payroll for April closes in the middle of March, in effect it means that all EOS forms should reach the Fund well before the first week of March in order to be captured on time. Please don’t wait till the last moment, as forms sometimes do get lost in the mail. So please keep those yellow forms coming, if you have not already done so!
- have a safe and joyous festive season and all the best for an exciting 2010!
The EOS forms are being captured onto the system as fast as we can. Once If you have sent in a week we also return mail any your form and not seen incomplete forms together with confirmation please phone a postage-paid reply envelope the Fund on 0860 11 45 48 for your convenience. Messages to confirm. to indicate whether we have or have not received the EOS forms will appear in the message block of your pay slip every month, starting with the December payslips (posted end November). As there may be a time delay between the forms arriving at the Fund and the actual capturing of the forms, the message on the pay slip may not be completely up to date. If you have sent in your form and the message on the pay slip reads that we have
2 PensionerTalk | December 2009
BurNiNg issuEs …
Recent reports from the Office of the Pension Funds Adjudicator concerning a pension fund scorecard
In this issue of the Pensioner Talk, we deliberate on the recent reports in the media regarding a scorecard that has been put in place by Mamodupi Mohlala, the outgoing Pension Funds Adjudicator, supposedly to evaluate the performance of about 290 retirement funds.
In terms of the recent reports the Adjudicator has used the scorecard to name and shame a number of underperforming funds. What was measured? Funds were assessed only on a complaints basis. The complaints were categorised in terms of the type of complaint received, the details of the complaint, the quality of the fund’s response, whether the fund made any attempt to settle the complaint before it reached the Adjudicator and the outcome of the complaint. The Adjudicator reported that the performance of 290 retirement funds that had complaints lodged against them between September 2008 and September 2009 had been assessed. To place this number in perspective, it can be noted that there are approximately 6 500 registered and active retirement funds in South Africa. Our Fund (EPPF) was apparently also measured in terms of this scorecard. The EPPF was mentioned with reference to the number of complaints received against the EPPF compared with the fees (R2.91 per member per year) payable by the Fund towards the running of the Office of the Pension Funds Adjudicator. Full details of this measurement were not available but it is clear that this measurement does not take account of the size of the Fund when looking at the number of complaints received. It also disregards the findings on whether the complaints were warranted or not or where an Adjudicator determination has been made. The Fund undertook its own audit on the number of complaints that were lodged against the Fund during the review period. The Fund’s audit established that 88% of these claims were ruled in favour of the Fund. The Fund works very closely with and fully supports the Adjudicators office and all queries are responded to within the time limits given. We invite any person or persons who have real issues of concern or complaints, to contact the Fund so that any problems can be solved.
EPPF Executive Management
Standing from left: Mr B I Steyn, Mr A Gaqa, Mr R K Pather, Ms S A Mosiane, Mr J Buthane, Mr P Ho, Mr J M Hattingh. Seated from left: Ms S Dube, Mr B Mokoena, Ms P Shuenyane
PensionerTalk | December 2009 3
MEdicAL Aid MAttErs …
Medical aid and the New year …
By Sandiso Mgwebi
At this time of the year the medical aid industry goes through its revision of benefits and rates. This has to be done in order for you to enjoy proper and relevant cover for your monthly contributions and to take account of increasing healthcare costs. As our pensioner it is important for you to have a medical aid, and the following items are of great importance. Membership and Subsidy It is advisable that pensioners, provided that they are in a sound financial position, keep their medical aid membership at the time of retiring from Eskom. Eskom pays a subsidy towards your medical aid and so this may help avoid medical aid contributions exceeding your pension income. It is also advisable to reconsider all the dependants on the medical aid – If a pensioner finds the medical aid to be too expensive then a pensioner should perhaps consider terminating one of the dependants instead of terminating their membership, as a termination of membership decision is irrevocable. Please consider your decisions carefully. Secondly, any dependants added to the medical aid after the member has retired from Eskom are not entitled to the Eskom medical aid subsidy benefit. This means that the pensioner will be liable for the full monthly contribution for that particular dependant. With regard to widows/widowers or any dependants, qualification for the subsidy at the death of the primary member (an Eskom pensioner) requires that they must have been active as dependants on the deceased’s medical aid prior to the death. In the event of a death, the widow, widower or even child pensioner who is active on the deceased’s medical aid must indicate on the Fund’s claim forms that they wish to continue with the medical aid. They will then be registered on the medical aid option that the deceased belonged to at time of death. Please take extra care when completing these forms because if these forms are not fully completed with all relevant requirements then the member will not be registered on the medical aid. Medical aid options and rates At this time of the year the various medical aid schemes plan their membership fee increases for the coming year to take account of rising costs. The planned increases are communicated to the EPPF and members by the relevant medical aids. During October, pensioners have an opportunity to change their medical aid options and can also transfer between medical aids (example between Prosano and Bestmed, or vice versa). Requests for option changes and transfers should be forwarded to the Fund first to update the Fund’s systems with the correct data. This is important to ensure that correct contributions are paid monthly to the medical aid schemes. Important note regarding communicating with your Medical aid on administrative matters It is important to note that if a pensioner has any medical aid query, such as contributions, address changes, registration of a new dependant or termination, they must first contact or send documents to the Fund directly. One of our medical aid administration staff will, after capturing the information, send those documents or requests to the relevant medical aid scheme on the pensioner’s behalf. NB: ANY ACCOUNT RELATED QUERIES – members must contact their medical aid directly. Medical aid monthly contributions First, it is advisable that pensioners are sure that they can afford the new contributions when considering a transfer to another medical aid or changing options. There have been cases where member’s income does not cover the medical aid monthly contributions. This creates problems in the long run as pensioners are liable for the shortfall. It is also advisable that a pensioner has some income coming to them after deductions, rather than have their full pension payment going towards medical aid contributions. Secondly, members are requested to inform the Fund about the death of a spouse or a dependant in order for the Fund to assist with the adjustment of contributions. This will enable us to deduct the correct contribution from your pension. The same applies when a pensioner gets divorced from their spouse, and when a dependant gets married or employed and they transfer to a different medical aid scheme. Age exclusion of dependants on medical aid The age of a dependant is one of the major determinants of whether that person should be on the pensioner’s medical aid or not. Anyone who is younger than 21 years of age and who is financially dependent on the pensioner should be kept as such on the medical aid. However, when a dependant turns 21 years of age, the following condition will apply for continued membership: • The dependant must still be a full time student. In this case, proof of registration with a recognised institution must be provided, or else the unsubsidised adult rates will apply. • Subsidised cover will continue for dependants who are disabled, provided that the relevant required doctor’s reports were provided as proof of disability. Telemed and Bestmed merger Please be informed that Telemed has merged with Bestmed, and will be known as Bestmed, which now offers about 10 options to choose from. Important Information Please contact EPPF staff regarding the following medical aid queries: • Registration of a new dependant • Termination of a dependant • Option changes • Address changes • Continuation of membership • Problems with monthly contributions • Deceased dependant
the following are the medical aid administration staff members to contact: Fikile – Fikile@eppf.eskom.co.za Mabel – Mabel@eppf.eskom.co.za Annetjie – Annetjie@eppf.eskom.co.za or by telephone on (011) 709 7537
4 PensionerTalk | December 2009
MEdicAL Aid MAttErs …
changes to Eskom’s supplementary Medical Expenses top-up Policy
For those of you who are covered under the Eskom Supplementary Medical Expenses Top-up Policy, there have been some changes to this policy over the past year. Here’s a reminder. If you are not sure whether you have supplementary medical cover please contact the EPPF call centre for confirmation.
What is supplementary medical cover? The supplementary medical expenses top-up policy covers the difference between the South African Medical Association (SAMA) rates and the amount covered by the medical aid. Who is entitled to supplementary medical cover? Eskom pensioners who at their date of retirement were entitled to this cover and elected to continue and pay the premium for the cover, including members of their immediate families are entitled to supplementary medical cover. These pensioners can also join after retirement, if they did not select this option at the time of retirement. Changes since January 2009 From January 2009 most medical aids increased their rates to similar levels as the SAMA rates. As a result a reduced amount is payable by the Eskom Supplementary Medical Expenses Top-up Policy. From 1 January 2009 the Supplementary Medical Expenses Top-up Policy will only pay 90% of the medical bill in excess of the amount paid by the medical aid. However, private ward costs will be fully refundable. Other terms and conditions will remain the same. Documentation required in the event of a claim • Fully completed claim form • Front page of hospital bill confirming admission and discharge dates • Original medical bill • Medical aid statement reflecting the part payment of the bill
Exclusions - when will the medical expenses not be reimbursed The Insurer is not liable to reimburse medical expenses incurred as a result of: • Attempted suicide or intentional self-injury; • Participation in active military duty, police duty, police reservist duty, civil commotion, labour disturbances, riot, strike or the activities of locked out workers.
Admiring the Fund’s birthday cake for Mr Charles Smyth on his 100th birthday is his daughter Ms Colleen Wilkinson and Mr Bonga Mokoena, Chief Executive of the Pension Fund.
some Pensioner news …
100 years old – what a milestone!
To mark his 100th birthday on 26 October 2009, the Fund’s Chief Executive and other officials paid a surprise visit to Mr. Charles Smyth, armed with a specially baked birthday cake. Expecting to find a pensioner on his last legs, they were surprised to find a very young 100 year old - fit as a fiddle, and still very capable of looking after himself. How many 100 year old people can still do their own garden and housework? And best of all, he drives himself to the nearby sports club in Bryanston for some social events and the odd game of bowls. The secret to his good health and longevity, he says, is the two tots of whiskey that he drinks every evening. Testimony to this is the fact that he is not taking any medication whatsoever. While having tea with Mr. Bonga Mokoena - Chief Executive, Ms. Penny Shuenyane Retirement Fund Operations Manager and Toni Slabbert - Communication Manager, Mr. Smyth recalled that he started with the Victoria Falls Power Undertaking in Germiston on 6 March 1926, until it was bought by the Electricity Supply Commission (which later became Eskom) in 1948. He joined Eskom as a Junior Clerk in the Accounts Department at Taaibos Power station and retired with 46 years’ service as Senior Accountant at Klip Power Station. Asked about his views on Eskom’s latest proposed price increases for electricity, he replied: “They should have protected their money, now they’re in a bit of trouble!” And one could still see something of the old schoolboyish charm in him by the way he smiled when they sang, “For he’s a jolly good fellow….”
PensionerTalk | December 2009 5
Share costs line: 0860 11 4548 Fax number: 011 709 7529 Medical Aid Administration: 011 709 7535 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.eppf.co.za Moorgate House Hampton Park South 24 Georgian Crescent Bryanston Postal Address: Private Bag 50 Bryanston 2021
EPPF CONTACT DETAIlS
Access to the Fund’s office in Witbank
Pensioners in the Witbank area should note that access to the Fund’s office in Eskom Park in Witbank has recently changed. The office is still situated in the same building (House 27, Eskom Park), but access control onto the Eskom premises has changed. Pensioners can no longer use the entrance in Jellico Street as it is now a staff-only entrance. Pensioners should please use the new main entrance in Visagie Street. Due to strict new security measures, pensioners are required to show their pensioner cards to gain access and from time to time might be required to sign in at the security office. A pension card only allows access for the pensioner and not for their family or friends, who will have to sign in at the security office at the gate. Please also keep in mind that no pets, firearms, or intoxicated persons will be allowed on Eskom premises. Parking at the Fund’s office is unfortunately limited to the two parking bays in front of the house. If these are taken then visitors would have to park in the allocated visitors parking at the main Eskom building. The covered parking bays across the street from the Fund’s office are allocated to Eskom employees and may not be used by visitors. (To have your wheels clamped would be a real inconvenience, so please don’t even consider parking there. A fine of between R50 and R100 is payable to the security office in the main building to have the car wheels unclamped. The whole unclamping process can also be very time consuming.)
Changed your bank account?
Let us know!
If you should change banks or bank accounts, please let the Fund know immediately so we can update your details on record to ensure that your pension is paid without any interruption or inconvenience. To change bank account details, we need documentation that would prove that it is really you changing the bank account details and not some fraudster trying to steal your money. Therefore we need the following documentation for bank account details: • An original bank statement for the new account, which shows the account number and the account holders name, with an original bank stamp and a bank official’s signature on the statement, or An original letter from the bank confirming your new account number in your name, and An original certified copy of the account holders ID, and A signed letter requesting the change in bank account details with your pension number.
Ms Penny Shuenyane has recently joined the EPPF as the Executive Manager of the Retirement Fund Operations Department, with the Communication; Contribution Collection & Data Maintenance; and Benefits Processing sections reporting to her.
Please note that for your protection, the Fund needs original documentation and cannot accept faxes or scanned documents.
6 PensionerTalk | December 2009
death benefits applicable to pensioners
Death benefit lump sum
A dearth benefit lump sum of R3000 is payable to the beneficiaries, which might include a spouse and/or eligible children and/or other dependants, if any. If a pensioner dies and is survived by a spouse and/or eligible children, the Fund will recalculate a monthly pension based on the original value of the annual pension at retirement (disregarding the amount already paid as a lump sum at retirement) plus all increases the pensioner received while on retirement. The spouse will receive 60% of the recalculated pension for life, plus a further 30% for one child or 40% for two or more children, until they reach the age of 21 years. The spouse’s pension is payable for life, even if the spouse remarries. Only children under 21 are entitled to receive death benefits. If a pensioner dies and is survived by one eligible child only, the child will receive 60% of the recalculated monthly pension until age 21. If a pensioner dies and is survived only by two or more children, they will receive 100% of the recalculated monthly pension until there is only one child under age 21, then 60% until that last child turns 21. Death after retirement without dependants If the pensioner has no dependants at the time of death then a death benefit is paid as a lump sum to the estate of the deceased and is calculated as follows: A lump sum of R3000 is paid. Plus The greater of the excess benefit (if any) as defined below: Twice the member’s annual pensionable salary at the time of retirement less total benefits already paid (lump sum plus monthly pension) or
ENIGMA SOLUTIONS 011 793 4084
othEr rELEvANt iNForMAtioN:
• • • • • • • Only biological or legally adopted children of the deceased pensioner qualify for benefits, not grandchildren and children of relatives. Children only receive a pension up to age 21. There are no exceptions. New widows – pensions for children are also included in the monthly pension (if applicable). Widows/widowers will continue receiving a pension if they re-marry. Please note that when a Deferred Pensioner passes away, a pension is payable only to the spouse that he/she was married to at the time of deferring. Pensioners who are married by customary law should register their marriages at Home Affairs. (This is to determine the rightful beneficiaries for pension benefits.) When applying for death benefits, the Fund needs original certified copies of Home Affairs printed birth certificates that shows the ID number for children younger than 16 years. For everybody over 16 years the Fund needs certified original copies of the ID. Monthly pensions are paid in advance, so in effect it only becomes due on the first of the month. In reality it is paid at the end of the previous month. To prevent fraud, faxes are not considered as valid for banking details changes. For banking detail changes the Fund needs an original certified copy of the ID as well as a stamped bank statement or letter from the bank. Address and contact detail changes can be made either in writing or telephonically with the Call Centre on the toll free line. The latest versions of benefit application forms are hosted on the Fund’s website (www.eppf.co.za) and/or are available at the local Eskom Human Resources Offices, or from the Fund.
iMPortANt NotEs to sPEEd uP PAyMENt oF BENEFits:
• Please notify the Fund telephonically immediately. • Ensure that the death benefit application forms are correctly and fully completed. (Obtainable from the Fund or Eskom HR offices.) • Certified copies are required of: Death certificate, ID of the deceased, ID of spouse and eligible children, marriage certificate or lobola note, as well as bank certified banking details of the beneficiary. • Ensure supporting documents are original certified copies with a clear date stamp, are not older than three months and are attached to the benefit application forms.
The member’s annual pensionable salary at the time of retirement plus 10% of the member’s final average salary for each completed year of pensionable service less total benefits already paid (lump sum plus monthly pension paid).
In the event of any conflict between the information provided in this document and the official Rules of the Fund, the provision of the Rules shall prevail. The articles and topics discussed in this issue are for information only and do not constitute; or are intended to be; or should not be construed as financial advice. Before taking a decision on whether to choose one option or product over the other, or embarking on a particular course, it is strongly recommended that a member consult a financial advisor for advise before taking any decision.
PensionerTalk | December 2009 7
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