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Challenges in the distribution of death benefits under the Pension Funds Act: the extent of dependency considered

Mtendeweka Mhango
The Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa
Vol. 46, No. 3 (NOVEMBER 2013), pp. 474-491
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23644813
Page Count: 18
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Challenges in the distribution of death benefits under the Pension Funds Act: the extent of dependency considered
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Abstract

This note addresses a recent determination by the adjudicator in Steenkamp v South African Breweries Staff Provident Fund, where she set aside the Board's decision to distribute R3,3 million to a deceased pension participant's partner, and ordered the Board to re-exercise its discretion by taking into account the partner's extent of dependency. The note argues that the determination should be welcomed for its consistency in holding that the extent of dependency is a relevant component for the Board to consider when making death benefit distributions in terms of the Pension Funds Act. The note also commends this determination for clarifying that children of the deceased pension participant, should automatically be considered in the death benefit allocation. The note further welcomes the determination under discussion because it highlights the importance of the wishes of the deceased in a death benefit distribution analysis, and correctly dismissed an ex-spouse's claim of dependency. The note commends the Adjudicator for promoting certainty in this otherwise opaque area of law.

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