Thousands of furniture workers closer to being paid

2017-03-01 12:33
Pensioner Ambrose Bezuidenhout has been leading the fight to get the Furniture Industry Provident Fund of the Western Cape to pay out a surplus to its members. (Peter Luhanga, GroundUp)

Pensioner Ambrose Bezuidenhout has been leading the fight to get the Furniture Industry Provident Fund of the Western Cape to pay out a surplus to its members. (Peter Luhanga, GroundUp)

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Cape Town – Thousands of former workers in the Western Cape furniture industry are a little closer to receiving their long-awaited payout from the industry's provident fund, through the Western Cape Surplus Apportionment Scheme.

Although employees were originally paid out, there was a surplus in the fund, GroundUp reported.

After a protracted procedural process, the Financial Services Board approved the fund's surplus payment scheme on February 16.

According to the principal secretary of the Furniture Industry Provident Fund of the Western Cape, Terry Miles, there are 27 000 former members of the industry, but it's not clear how many of them are eligible for the approved funds payout.

Miles said the fund is valued in the region of R60m.

Atlantis resident Ambrose Bezuidenhout, 63, worked for Atlantis' Unita Planned Furniture for 10 years.

He was laid off in 1998 before the company shut down in 2000.

Members old, poor

Bezuidenhout said he was leading approximately 300 former furniture employees from Atlantis, Mamre, Pella and Darling in the fight for their money from the surplus appointment scheme.

He said the former members in Atlantis were frustrated and angry as no date had been communicated to them as to when they would eventually be paid.

He said most of the members were very old and poor and rely on state pensions.

He questioned what would happen to the scheme funds accumulating interest in the bank.

Contacted for an update on the fund's payment date, Miles said the fund had asked actuaries to find out which former fund members qualified for a share of the available surplus and to quantify their shares.

Qualifying members would be sent forms to fill in, he said.

Those who did not qualify would be notified.

No date had been set for the payout.

Read more on:    cape town  |  pension funds

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