Widow feels duped

2017-11-15 06:00

The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) seems to have gone back on its promise regarding an insurance benefit which was supposed to be payed out to the widow of one of its deceased members three years ago.

The union had assured the aggrieved widow, Hendrina van der Westhuizen, she would be paid a R10 000 benefit after the death of her husband, Derrick van der Westhuizen, in September 2014.

The widow has been kept in limbo since then. Several attempts to get feedback proved futile, while the union sent her from pillar to post with regards to the delay in paying the money.

Van der Westhuizen says she was informed at the memorial of her late husband that she would be paid R10 000, as with all beneficiaries whose spouses or partners die.

She communicated with different persons from Satawu in following up on the matter. She was even advised to submit documents (a death certificate, a marriage certificate, a bank statement, a debit order amendment form and five copies of her husband’s payslips) as proof that her husband’s membership had been up-to-date.

These documents were required by the union to enable it to facilitate payment.

However, nothing came forth from Satawu over three years, despite a guarantee by the union that she and all other beneficiaries of deceased union members would be paid what was due to them.

After three years of struggling to get a satisfactory response, the union shocked the widow by going back on its promise. Satawu is unable to explain the failure in payment.

“Payment of death claims was suspended in 2014. No claims have been paid since then. There were no monthly contributions by members towards the benefit and no amounts were drawn from the membership fees. The way forward on this issue will be discussed at the upcoming central executive committee meeting in November 2017. The outcome should be communicated thereafter,” says Zanele Sabela, Satawu’s media officer.

The response is contrary to that given in 2014 by Bethuel Banda, who stated in a communiqué with widow Van der Westhuizen that payment of death claims would be made after discussion by the union.

Reacting to Satawu’s shocking news, Van der Westhuizen said that more than three representatives of Satawu had been dishonest with her.

“My husband was very happy with the union, but the treatment they have given me over his death claims is extremely shocking.”

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