Gogo: ‘I was robbed’

2020-01-15 06:00
Retired Pietermaritzburg nurse Constance Ramorobi, who turned 100 years old on December 26, is battling to get her gratuity from the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) 20 years after retiring. PHOTO: moeketsi mamane

Retired Pietermaritzburg nurse Constance Ramorobi, who turned 100 years old on December 26, is battling to get her gratuity from the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) 20 years after retiring. PHOTO: moeketsi mamane

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A RETIRED Pietermaritzburg nurse who spent over 30 years of her life caring for her community says she is being short-changed out of her pension gratuity, 36 years after her retirement.

Constance Ramarobi from Panorama Gardens, who turned 100 years old on December 26, says she just wants the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) to do right by her and pay out her gratuity before she dies. While Ramarobi is currently receiving a monthly pension of R5 495, she said she was never given her once-off cash lump sum. Instead when she retired due to a knee injury in 1983, all she received was a “lousy R300”.

“I worked hard but I have been robbed. What have I done to anybody to deserve the life that I am living now,” Ramarobi told The Witness.

She said that the GEPF refuses to pay out her gratuity, stating that she was a contributor towards the pension fund for temporary employees.

At the time of her employment Ramarobi said she was told that she would work as a temporary nurse for five years and thereafter her status would be adjusted to permanent.

“The government never honoured that but I continued working full time for over 30 years until I retired. We are all aware of the injustices of the previous government to black government employees and I was no exception,” she told The Witness.

Following her retirement at 63, the mother of five said she was forced to look for another job to be able to put food on the table.

“I couldn’t take care of the financial responsibilities. It also caused me immense stress, which led to problems with my health.

“I used to worry a lot. I had money put away, but it wasn’t enough. I had to grow chickens and do housework on a part-time basis to survive,” Ramarobi said.

She said after writing many letters to the GEPF and going back and forth to their offices, in November 2010 she started receiving the monthly payout.

“We have been asking them what has happened to the money from when I retired in 1983 to 2010?

“I’m owed a big amount. I have letters expressing to me that I’m not entitled to the gratuity. At 100, I can’t keep running from office to office with no response,” she said.

Pamela Ndlovu, Ramarobi’s granddaughter, said that in April, when she visited the Pietermaritzburg GEPF offices, she was told to write a letter to the head office in Pretoria indicating that the lump sum was never paid.

“She worked for 36 years. You can’t put someone in charge of a clinic and say that they were temporary.

She was robbed. You can’t be temporary for 36 years. They need to rectify this; they can’t just ignore it. “The family appealed this injustice so many times and once again this year as she turns 100 years old, she is still denied. This treatment has no justification and is causing gogo to suffer needlessly,” Ndlovu said.

“If someone received her money, they must let us now, but it never came to her. God has blessed her with life but emotionally, she is not a happy person.

She can’t do what she wants to do with her own money. She has worked so much but she has been robbed,” she added.

Comment on the matter from the GEPF was not forthcoming.

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