GEPF calls for calm

2016-02-10 06:00

THE Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) has called for calm after a large number of government employees resigned to save their pension benefits.

“Your pension is safe, keep your job and watch your benefits grow,” says Krishen Sukdev, chief executive officer of the Government Pension and Administration Agency (GPAA).

The GEPF continues to receive queries from members asking whether the tax harmonisation and retirement reforms that are part of the Tax Administration Laws Amendment Act No. 23 of 2015 and Taxation Laws Amendment Act No. 25 of 2015 will affect them.

The agency says tax harmonisation legislative changes do not affect GEPF members and their pension benefits.

Government employees who are eligible belong to the GEPF, not provident funds.

According to Sukdev, the new laws do not affect members of the GEPF, as the GEPF is not a provident fund, but a pension fund, and therefore is not affected by the new law.

Pension funds such as the GEPF and retirement annuities are already required to create monthly payments of two-thirds of retirement benefits and hence will not be affected by the laws.

The purpose of the laws is to harmonise pension and provident funds by creating a monthly pension (annuity) in the provident fund benefits.

It makes no difference whether GEPF members resign or retire now, or after 1 March 2016.

Retiring GEPF members have always received a lump sum (gratuity) and monthly payments (annuity) until they pass away.

When this happens, the surviving spouse will receive the monthly payment until they pass away too.

This will continue even after 1 March 2016. Those who resign have always received a lump sum and will continue to do so, even if they resign after 1 March 2016.

The new laws do not change this fact, says Sukdev.

The notion that government wants to take members’ money has no basis at all, Sukdev says.

“We appeal to GEPF members not to panic and resign with a view to cash in their benefits before 1 March 2016. They should not make hasty, life-changing decisions and resign on the basis of incorrect information or misunderstandings.

“If members are not sure, they should please contact their nearest GEPF office or call our toll free number,” says Sukdev.

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