The government is urging former public servants and their beneficiaries who may be owed benefits by the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) to contact the fund.
The GEPF owes R1.6 billion in unpaid and unclaimed benefits.
Last week, Public Service and Administration Minister Ayanda Dlodlo said that, as of May, there were 44 190 cases of unpaid and unclaimed benefits.
The Government Pensions Administration Agency (GPAA), which is responsible for administering pensions on behalf of the GEPF, says it has 26 919 cases of unpaid benefits, amounting to R907.1 million, and 17 271 cases of unclaimed benefits, valued at R698.9m.
Most of the unclaimed and unpaid benefits (R514.1m) are owed to the beneficiaries of people who used to work at national government level.
One of the reasons benefits have not been paid is the submission of documentation that contains incorrect information about the identities of beneficiaries, as well as incorrect tax and banking details.
Dlodlo called on all stakeholders, including government departments and trade unions, to notify public servants about their benefits and that they need to apply for them.
The GPAA says it plans to work with community workers to track down beneficiaries. It will also hire 20 full-time tracing agents and 10 external service providers to trace beneficiaries. Other intervention strategies, such as the deployment of mobile vans and national road shows, are being explored.
“The minister calls on family members or beneficiaries of deceased former public servants to contact the GEPF to ascertain whether they are entitled to any unclaimed pension benefits,” the department said.
Former public servants or their beneficiaries should visit their “closest regional walk-in centres of the GEPF in all nine provinces” to apply for their benefits.
Unpaid and unclaimed retirement fund benefits have been a problem for many years. The Financial Sector Conduct Authority estimates that more than R20bn is due to more than three million people.