No stamp, no pension payment

2013-07-24 00:00

ONE missing stamp from the Department of Education in KwaZulu-Natal has so far delayed the payment of a pension to a widow of a teacher in Newcastle by 14 months.

A despondent Elaine Barnard said she had been sent from one office to the next and twice had to fill in the same forms. Her husband, Jan Hendrik, died in May last year. He had worked for the Department of Education since 1976.

Barnard, who has also been a teacher since 1975, said she had completed all the necessary forms and handed them in at the Newcastle offices of the Department of Education shortly after her husband’s death.

She then heard that there was a problem with one form, which she attended to and personally handed in at the Education offices in Ladysmith.

When she had no feedback from anyone by October last year, she started to call Musa Sithole, an official at the Ladysmith office, who initially reassured her everything was in place.

Sithole eventually stopped taking her calls, but informed her in November that all the forms had to be filled in again because the originals were older than six months and still not processed.

In April, Barnard wrote a letter to Dr Nkosi Sishi, head of the department, describing her increasingly desperate plight and lack of progress. The department this week answered that the forms had been sent to the government pension fund administration agency (GPAA) in Pretoria, where staff pointed out a stamp was required from the Department of Education on one of the forms. The forms were then sent back to Lady­smith at the beginning of this month.

The department has to stamp the form and send it back to the GPAA.

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