Pensions: KZN faces biggest backlog in SA

2010-05-28 00:00

THE KwaZulu-Natal Social Development Department faces a monumental task in resolving the massive backlog in pension applications, which is estimated at 31 000. The backlog is apparently the biggest in the country.

In an interview with The Witness, Social Development MEC Meshack Radebe said the department has managed to reduce the backlog from 50 000 to 31 000.

He said that among the changes the department has made is the introduction of an appeals board, which will review decisions to turn down applications for pensions. “One of the major contributions to the backlog is corruption. You find that the applications for grants that should be approved are turned down because the applicant has not paid a bribe to a particular individual,” said Radebe.

“And because the power for approval does not rest with the MEC, but rather with the minister in Pretoria, we have set up an appeals board so that all those people who legitimately qualify to receive pensions can be approved by the board, which does its own investigation.”

As an anti-corruption measure, the department plans to rotate the doctors who grant permission for people to qualify for pensions. Measures are also planned to improve the pension application process. “Instead of people applying, then coming back after a few weeks to check if their pensions have been approved, they should be told on the spot,” said Radebe.

 

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