THE GEPF LAUNCHES THE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES PENSION OMBUD (GEPO) OFFICE

01 July 2021

The Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), today officially launched the Government Employees Pension Ombud (GEPO). The Ombud, which is an independent internal structure of the GEPF has been set up to deal with administrative complaints against the GEPF from its members, pensioners and beneficiaries.

“The purpose of the GEPO is to facilitate, investigate, determine and resolve complaints lodged by members, pensioners and beneficiaries of the GEPF in a fair, impartial and timely manner”, says the Chairperson of the GEPF, Dr Renosi Mokate. “Furthermore, the GEPO provides an informal yet accessible and cost-effective alternative to other remedies, such as court proceedings.

I would like to express our appreciation to retired Judge Bakone Justice Moloto and Advocate Makhado Ramabulana for the work done to establish the Ombuds Office”, she concluded.

Advocate Makhado Ramabulana will act as the Ombud effective from 1 July 2021. Advocate Ramabulana graduated with a BA Law and LLB degrees from the University of Venda, before joining the Cape Bar where he practised as an advocate from July 1999 to July 2004. He has held various roles within the pension funds industry including in the office of the Pension Funds Adjudicator, Financial Services Conduct Authority (FSCA) and remains a Trustee on various Pension Fund Boards. A detailed profile of Advocate Ramabulana is provided with this press release.

The GEPO, which is a first for the GEPF, is mandated to investigate administrative complaints lodged against the Fund by GEPF members, pensioners and beneficiaries. Amongst others, the Ombud will engage on matters related to:

  • Unreasonable delays in processing of payments that are due
  • Failure of officials to perform their duties in terms of the Fund’s law and rules
  • Breaking of a commitment without a justifiable reason
  • Providing incorrect or misleading information

Detailed guidelines on how to lodge a complaint is available for the benefit of members, pensioners and beneficiaries on the GEPO website at www.gepo.co.za with the option to lodge the complaint on the website. Complaints can also be submitted in writing or emailed to the:

Office of the Ombudsman Attention:

Complaints Manager, PO Box 11005 Hatfield, Pretoria, 0028

Email: enquiries@gepo.co.za

Telephone: 012-110-4950

Issued by Government Employees Pension Fund

About the Government Employees Pension Fund

The Government Employees Pension Fund is among the largest pension funds in the world, with over 1.2 million active members and over 450 000 pensioners and beneficiaries. It is founded and regulated in terms of the Government Employees Pension Law (1996) and its mandate is to manage and administer pensions and other benefits for government employees in South Africa.

We work to give members, pensioners and beneficiaries’ peace of mind about their financial security after retirement. We do this, by ensuring that all funds in our safekeeping, are responsibly invested and accounted for and that the benefits due, are paid efficiently, accurately and timeously.

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Hostage incident at GEPF eThekwini Regional Office

Date: 10 June 2021

Pretoria – Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) is aware of reports of a hostage incident at its eThekwini regional office. We have been informed that an aggrieved GEPF client held officials of the Government Pension Administration Agency (GPAA) hostage at the office.

The GEPF has been informed that there was no harm to anyone. The member has been detained by the South African Police Services (SAPS) and remains in their custody.

The GEPF is appreciative of the efforts of the South African Police Service, office security personnel and employees in dealing with the incident. The necessary counselling will be provided to the affected officials.

The GEPF remains committed to engaging with its members with respect to any concerns they have.

END

For more information, please contact:

Matau Molapo, Communications

T: +27 (0) 12 424 7315

M: +27 (0)79 1910 757

E: matau.molapo@gepf.co.za

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GEPF pensioners will receive a 3.2% annual pension increase as of 1 April 2021

Date: 15 March 2021

Pretoria – Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) announced today that an annual pension increase of 3.2% is to be provided to its pensioners with effect from 1 April 2021.

This pension increase is based on the 3.2% inflation rate for the 12 months ending 30 November 2020, in line with policy and past practice, thus making the increase equal to 100% of Consumer Price Index (CPI) and higher than the 75% of CPI provided in terms of GEP Law and Rules.

Pensioners who retired on or before 1 April 2020 will receive the full 3,2% increase as of 1 April 2021, while pensioners who retired after 1 April 2020 will have their pensions increased proportionally for each month of retirement between the date of retirement and 31 March 2021, with effect from 1 April 2021.

It must be noted that increases such as this increase which is above what is provided for in GEP Law and Rules are granted at the discretion of the Board of Trustees of the GEPF taking the Fund’s investment performance into account.

END/

Note to Editors

GEPF is governed by the Government Employees Pension (GEP) Law of 1996, as amended, and the rules that accompany it. These rules, along with GEPF’s Pension Increase and Funding Level policies, give firm guidelines on how the Fund must decide the annual increase that is paid to pensioners. These documents state that GEPF’s Board of Trustees may approve a pension increase after consideration was given to the financial conditions of the Fund and the effect of the proposed increases on the Fund.

This minimum funding level states that the Fund’s assets must be able to cover at least 90% of its liabilities. This means that what the Fund owns (its assets) must be able to cover the cost of at least 90% of what it owes in terms of the current and future pension payments that it is committed to pay (its liabilities). According to the rules, the Fund may thus only approve an increase that it can afford.

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Government Employees Pension Fund Stakeholder Perception Survey

NOTICE TO:

Members, Pensioners and beneficiaries

We at the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) are constantly striving to improve the level of service that we provide to our stakeholders. To arrive at a deeper understanding of the needs of our stakeholders, we have commissioned AfricaScope South Africa to undertake a comprehensive perception survey within our stakeholder group.

The focus of the survey will be to ascertain our stakeholder perceptions of the GEPF by means of telephonic and/or online questionnaires. The results of the survey will assist the GEPF in its efforts to be more efficient and effective.

AfricaScope will be drawing a completely random sample of individuals from out datasets. We wish to stress that the process is completely scientific and random and in no way targets any particular individuals or groups of individuals. Under their code of professional ethics, they may not divulge to GEPF any personal details of any participating individual and therefore you can be assured that any responses you provide will be totally anonymous.

If you are selected to participate in the survey, we respectfully urge you to please participate and to give your honest answers to the questions asked. In that way we at GEPF will be able to fully understand the needs and wishes of our valued stakeholders.

The survey began during the month of February and is currently in an advanced planning stage. AfricaScope will be contacting the first respondents within the next weeks.

You will be given the choice of completing the survey telephonically or on-line.

Thank you

Issued by the:

Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF)

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GEPF ANNUAL RESULTS AS AT FINANCIAL YEAR-END MARCH 2020

GEPF NAVIGATES STRONG HEADWINDS

Monday, 16 November 2020, Pretoria

Main Points

GEPF asset market value declined by 11.4% from R1.8 trillion in 2019 to R1.64 trillion in 2020. This decrease in the investment value is mainly attributable to the losses incurred in March 2020 as a result of the impact of Covid-19, the downgrade in credit ratings and a persisting low growth environment.

Income received during the financial year included:

✓ Dividend income – R34.1 billion

✓ Interest income – R52.3 billion

✓ Property income – R1.8 billion

✓ Contributions received – R 80,2 billion

Benefits paid upon member’s resignation, retirement, or death was R111 billion which was an increase of R 8.4 billion against 2018/19 financial year payments. This was mainly due to an increase in pension payments which accounted for 62% of the total benefits paid which was driven by the 5.2% monthly increase granted to pensions and a 3.1% increase in the number of pensioners.

As at 31 March 2020, the end of the financial year 2019/2020, the Government Employees Pension Fund, Africa’s largest pension fund reported a decline in its investment portfolio of R243 billion largely impacted by the turmoil in the South African and global economy in the last quarter of the 2019/2020 financial year.

However, due to the resilience of the GEPF investment strategy, the Fund has recovered the losses incurred and its unaudited value is currently R1.9 trillion. This recouping of losses clearly indicates that the GEPF remains financially sound despite the tough economic conditions that the Fund operated in, in the 2019/2020 financial year.

The financial results however continue to highlight that the performance of the Fund is not isolated from the country’s economic and development constraints. The poor state of the South African economy had a significant impact on the Fund, as the economic climate in the three months leading to 31 March was extremely turbulent and coincided with the end of the Funds 2019/2020 financial year.

Much of the decline in the Funds market value was due to the performance of local equities, capital markets and listed property. The decline in international asset classes was offset by a significant decline in the value of the rand against the dollar. The value of the assets reflects depressed market values as at 31 March 2020.

In the context of a uniquely challenging economic environment, the GEPF did sustain an acceptable overall investment performance with income of R168, 4 billion as a result of investment income of R88, 2 billion and contributions of R80, 2 billion. The fund outperformed its benchmark by 0.22%.

The adverse economic climate in South Africa led to the sharp rise in the bond yields in March 2020 resulting in the value of the Fund’s liabilities reducing considerably as at 31 March 2020. This reduction in liabilities would have resulted in the funding level of the GEPF increasing but the unintended consequence would have been a marked decrease in member exit benefit values (calculated using the Actuarial Interest Factors derived from the actuarial valuation) for the upcoming years, until the results of the next statutory valuation is approved.

Given the abnormal economic shocks and the impact on member benefits, the Board of Trustees resolved to carry out an interim valuation as at 31 March 2020 that will be followed by a statutory valuation as at 31 March 2021. The postponement of the statutory valuation to March 2021 is still within the timeframe prescribed for actuarial valuations by the Government Employees Pension Law.

Benefit payments to members will continue to be made in accordance with the approved Actuarial Interest Factors, which came into effect on 1 July 2019, until the statutory valuation as at 31 March 2021 is completed. These safeguards members from the adverse effect that would have resulted from adopting the Actuarial Interest Factors based on abnormal circumstances as at 31 March 2020.

In line with the Fund’s commitment to ensure all benefits due are paid, the total benefits paid during the year under review increased by R8.4 billion, mainly due to the increase in pension payments, which accounted for 49% of the total increase. The increase in the pension payments were driven by the 5.2% monthly increase granted to pensioners from 1 April 2019 and a 3.1% increase in the number of pensioners.

Whilst the number of pensioners increased, the Fund also experienced a slight increase in active members by 0.3% to 1 269 161 members (2019: 1 265 421).

The GEPF expects the difficult economic climate in South Africa to persist as the economy continues to contract. Following the conclusion of its consultation with the Minister of Finance on its asset-liability modelling the GEPF over a period, will begin to align its strategic asset allocation to match its liability profile. The strategic asset allocation determines how the GEPF allocates funds to asset classes locally and offshore.

The GEPF is keenly aware of the important role it plays in the South African economy, and that its members, pensioners and beneficiaries are impacted by economic, social and environmental challenges, in recognition of which the GEPF continues to direct funds towards the development of the country, inclusive of infrastructure, transformation, sustainability, priority sectors and small –medium enterprises. Such investments however must ensure beneficial returns to the GEPF.

The GEPF expresses its appreciation to its implementing agencies, the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) and Government Pension Administration Agency (GPAA) for the work they do to ensure that the GEPF fulfils its mandate.

/Ends

The Audited Financial statement can viewed on the GEPF website on www.gepf.co.za

Issued by Government Employees Pension Fund

For more information, please contact:

Matau Molapo, Communications division

T: +27 (0) 12 424 7315

M: +27 (0)79 1910 757

E: Matau.molapo@gepf.co.za

About the Government Employees Pension Fund

The Government Employees’ Pension Fund is one of the largest pension funds in the world, with over 1.2 million active members and over 450 000 pensioners and beneficiaries. Our core business, governed by the Government Employees’ Pension Law (1996), is to manage and administer pensions and other benefits for government employees in South Africa.

We work to give members and pensioners peace of mind about their financial security after retirement, moreover during situations of need by ensuring that all funds in our safekeeping is responsibly invested and accounted for and that benefits are paid efficiently, accurately and on time.

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Africa’s largest pension fund appoints new Principal Executive Officer

Pretoria, Monday 26 October 2020

The Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Musa Mabesa as its new Principal Executive Officer (PEO).

Mr. Mabesa is currently the Acting Principal Executive Officer at the GEPF, having previously occupied the position of Head: Corporate Services at the GEPF.

Commenting on the appointment, the GEPF Chairperson, Dr. Renosi Mokate said, “We are pleased that following an extensive process during which an impressive list of talented candidates were interviewed, the Board has selected Mr. Mabesa as Principal Executive Officer. Mr. Mabesa is a high caliber leader with the necessary skills as well as the requisite strategic and operational knowledge of the GEPF and the pension and investment industry. We are confident that together with the current Executive team he will be able to successfully implement the strategic vision of the Board.”

Mr. Mabesa says he is deeply humbled by the opportunity given to him by the GEPF Board to lead Africa’s largest pension fund. “I look forward to working with the GEPF team and all our stakeholders as we continue to ensure that the GEPF meets its obligation to protect the retirement benefits of its members and pensioners through proper administration and prudent investment during the tough economic climate that South Africa and the world is facing. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to lead one of the world’s top pension funds. There is no doubt that the challenge is huge.”

Ends

Issued by Government Employees Pension Fund

For more information, please contact:
Matau Molapo, Communications division
T: +27 (0) 12 424 7315
M: +27 (0)79 1910 757
E: Matau.molapo@gepf.co.za

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GEPF Chairperson Refutes Holomisa Allegations

Pretoria, Thursday 18 June 2020
The Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) and its Chairperson, Dr Renosi Mokate, notes with deep concern the false allegations by General Bantu Holomisa to President Ramaphosa stating that Dr Mokate is allegedly part of a group of individuals that have looted state resources by having easy access to PIC and DBSA funds.
Dr Mokate refutes these allegations as unsubstantiated, irresponsible, mischievous and unlawful and as such will be seeking a retraction and removal of the letter from the said website and all other platforms. These allegations are a blatant misrepresentations of facts which cast aspersions on her integrity and character.
The GEPF and Dr Mokate are currently consulting lawyers and will take whatever action is required to clear their good names and reputations. Dr Mokate is not a director of Poseidon Pty Ltd, as alleged by Mr Holomisa, and never has been.
/Ends
Issued by Government Employees Pension Fund
For more information please contact:
Matau Molapo, Communications division
T: +27 (0) 12 424 7315
M: +27 (0)79 1910 757
E: Matau.molapo@gepf.co.za
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GEPF congratulates Abel Sithole on his appointment

28 May 2020
The Government Employees Pension Fund welcomes the appointment of Mr Abel Sithole as the new Chief Executive Officer of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC).
The GEPF chairperson, Dr Renosi Mokate, on behalf of the GEPF Board of Trustees and its employees congratulates Mr Sithole on his appointment and wishes him well at the PIC.
“We thank Abel for his hard work and dedication to the Fund and its stakeholders. He brought stability and direction to the GEPF at the time when stability was needed and we are assured that he will do the same at the PIC. This is not a goodbye but see you later, said Dr Mokate.
Referring to his appointment, Mr Sithole said, “I am honored to have served the GEPF and leave behind a strong organization and a great team which I had the privilege to lead.” The GEPF will in due course announce the process it will undertake to appoint its next Principal Executive Officer.
/Ends
Issued by Government Employees Pension Fund
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GEPF to take action following report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of Impropriety at the Public Investment Corporation

30 March 2020

The Board of the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) welcomes the findings and recommendations in the Report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of Impropriety at the Public Investment Corporation (Commission).

The Board supports the President Cyril Ramaphosa, who, on releasing the Commission’s report, indicated that in keeping with the recommendations in the report he would be forwarding it to the National Prosecuting Authority and all relevant regulatory authorities for their consideration and appropriate action.

The Board is encouraged by the media statement issued by the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) on the 20 March 2020 with respect to the actions it will be taking in response to the Commission’s report, including action initiated against named individuals and organisations. The GEPF looks forward to being regularly briefed by the PIC as it deals with the various recommendations in the report.

Although the Commission’s terms of reference did not include the GEPF, the GEPF will pay careful attention to and follow up on the Commission’s recommendations specific to it and the PIC. It will cooperate with the National Treasury which has been tasked with oversight in addressing the Commission’s findings and recommendations.

The Executive Committees of the GEPF and PIC, led by the Principal Executive Officer and Acting Chief Executive respectively, overseen by the respective Boards, are already engaged in the reviewing the agreements, policies, mandates, procedures, processes, benchmarks and fee structures that govern the relationship between them as well as addressing areas where the relationship has been eroded.

Ends

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Message

26 March 2020

26 March 2020

Dear GEPF Member

As a result of the national lockdown announced by President Ramaphosa on the 23 March 2020 all GEPF offices will be closed from the 26 March 2020. We expect to reopen offices on the 17 April 2020 subject to no further lockdowns.

The GEPF’s priority in this regard is the health and welfare of our employees, clients and business partners.  It is important that we all commit to implementing the lockdown as required by Government in order to help curb the spread of the virus.

Communication with the GEPF during this period will be via email at enquiries@gepf.co.za

We would further like to encourage our members, pensioners and beneficiaries to comply with the guidelines aimed at protecting themselves and others which include amongst others:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after going to the bathroom, before eating, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol to clean your hands
  • Avoid close contact with anybody who is sick, maintaining a distance of at least one meter between yourself and the sick person
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Cover sneezes or coughs with a tissue and dispose of the tissue safely afterwards
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
  • It is recommended that only infected persons wear masks to avoid spreading the virus

We want to reassure all members, pensioners and beneficiaries that despite the decline on the global equity markets, the GEPF is financially sound. More importantly, as a defined benefit fund, benefits provided by the fund are not dependent on the performance of the fund’s investments.  Your benefit is determined by the number of pensionable service years and your average salary in the last 24 months of your pensionable salary.

Keep healthy and be assured that your benefits are secure.

Kind regards

Abel Sithole

Principal Executive Officer

 

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