Ray of hope for Parliament's protesting pensioners

2016-06-02 15:57

Cape Town - Eastern Cape pensioners who have been protesting outside Parliament over missing money have made a breakthrough with their UIF payments, but refuse to go home until everybody is happy.

The labour department had paid Unemployment Insurance Fund benefits to about 30 of the pensioners, their representative Michael Matshaya said on Thursday.

"Some of the people were paid, and some of the people were not paid," said Matshaya, who had gathered evidence on behalf of the group.

The mostly elderly men and women have been holding a vigil outside Parliament's visitors' centre since April. They slept at the Methodist Church in Greenmarket Square and returned during the day to make their presence felt.

As winter set in, the group was thinning, with most opting to stay at the church. Every day, however, the men made the pilgrimage up Plein Street in a bid not to be forgotten. 

They alleged that their pensions disappeared during the post-apartheid creation of the new transport entity, Transnet. Some had worked for the Ciskei Transport Corporation, and some for SA Railways. 

The group from the SA Railways went on strike and were dismissed. They challenged their dismissal and won, said Matshaya, but were locked out when they went back to work. Even though they were dismissed, they were entitled to their pensions, they argued.

Meanwhile, Parliament expected them to go back home, while about 400 applications for UIF were processed. But the pensioners stood firm, even screaming their way through an attempt by police to remove them. 

During her recent budget vote speech, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant said the department was looking into the matter with the departments of trade and industry, and public enterprises.

"The processing and payment of benefits to the qualifying claimants has commenced and some have already been paid," she said. 

Matshaya said, although there was hope on the UIF front, they would approach the High Court in Grahamstown over the missing pensions.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Financial advisors – Do you need one and should you get one?

The good, the bad, and everything else you need to know when considering hiring a financial advisor.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.