Unclaimed Provident Funds for Deceased in South Africa

Unclaimed Provident Funds for Deceased in South Africa

What are Provident Funds? Pensions and provident funds are two types of retirement savings. Their primary goal is to save money to create a safe and pleasant living when people retire. Employers establish pension and provident funds for the benefit of their employees. The goal is to provide members (workers) with pension and provident fund benefits upon retirement. Other benefits, such as death and disability payments, may be provided through pension and provident funds.

Unclaimed Provident Funds for Deceased in South Africa

When benefits are payable (at the retirement stage), up to one-third of the fund’s value may be collected in cash. The remaining two-thirds are paid out as a standard monthly pension. A lump payment, pension benefit, or interest owed to a retirement fund member (or their beneficiary) that has gone unclaimed for a while is referred to as an unclaimed benefit. This is done under the Pension Fund Act. The unclaimed fund is considered unclaimed if not paid two years after a member’s exit.

What are unclaimed benefits or Funds?

Unclaimed benefits are those funds in which the cause for the member’s departure from the Fund and their final day of employment are both known. But, the benefit is not paid to the member within 24 months of the person’s last day of service in line with the rules of the Fund.

Who is eligible to get unclaimed benefits?

The following individuals may claim unclaimed benefits:

  • Members of the GEPF who have retired or who are no longer functional.
  • Beneficiaries of GEPF members who are no longer in service or have died.
  • Beneficiaries of GEPF members’ guardians.
Who is eligible to get unclaimed benefits

What causes Funds to go unclaimed?

The most common causes for benefits being unclaimed are:

  • The member’s exit paperwork – Z102 forms filed when a member quits the Fund – were either not submitted or had inaccuracies that were not corrected.
  • The GEPF lacks sufficient information on the dead members’ spouses or beneficiaries to allow them to claim their benefits or for the fund to pay them.
  • The GEPF is unable to obtain a tax directive from SARS because the members’ or beneficiaries’ tax affairs are not in order, such as when they are not registered for tax or have not completed tax returns, among other things.
  • Benefits are paid but returned to the GEPF owing to inaccurate banking information, frozen or dormant accounts, and wrong pay points.

The pension and provident fund benefits are not subject to a member’s will and must be distributed directly to that member’s dependents. Benefits will be given to the member’s designated beneficiaries if they don’t have any dependents. When a retirement fund member passes away, the fund’s trustees will review the nomination list. They will then determine who to consider as dependents and prospective recipients of the person’s pension payments.

How can I locate any unused pension benefits?

The Financial Service Conduct Authority (FSCA) website hosts a single database that the Registrar of Pension Funds maintains to help the general public determine whether any unclaimed benefits are owed to them using a search engine.

In order for the Unclaimed Benefits Search Engine to examine if there is a probable match, a researcher will need to enter basic information, such as name, surname, identification number, fund name, employer name, etc. Upon a successful match, the enquirer will be given the fund’s and/or administrator’s contact information.

Claimed your retirement funds
Claimed retirement savings

Unclaimed funds in South Africa

Millions of South Africans might not be aware that they are due money because they have not claimed retirement savings that are owed to them. They contributed during their working years to retirement plans, which is how they were able to save this money.

Administrators of retirement plans are working hard to locate these former participants in retirement funds or their beneficiaries to ensure they receive the money owed to them.

The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (“FSCA”) and retirement fund managers have been working to find a solution to the unclaimed benefits problem for more than ten years. According to estimates from the retirement fund sector, at least 4.8 million South Africans have unclaimed funds totaling at least R42 billion.

Liberty manages funds with more than 200 000 former fund participants who have not yet claimed their share of a combined R2.3 billion. Liberty has assigned a task team of tracing agents to locate these recipients in order to support the payments.

Transaction Capital Recoveries, a well-known supplier of credit management services recognized for its vast customer database, is one of the most recent members of the tracing task force. Since 2018, Liberty has successfully located and reimbursed members and beneficiaries approximately R380 million in assets.

Guardian’s Fund List

Guardian’s fund list announced the following funds in accordance with districts. 

Funds NameDistrict
GoN 2537 Pension Funds Act (24/1956)Unclaimed benefits from the Nzalo Umbrella Provident Fund
GoN 2538 Administration of Estates Act (66/1965)Guardian’s Fund: Master of the North Gauteng High Court (Pretoria & Mmabatho)
GoN 2539 Administration of Estates Act (66/1965)as amended: Master of the Northern Cape High Court – Kimberley
GoN 2540 Administration of Estates Act (66/1965)Guardian’s Fund: Master of the Eastern Cape High Court – Grahamstown 46982 315
GoN 2542 Administration of Estates Act (66/1965)Guardian’s Fund: Bloemfontein
GoN 2543 Administration of Estates Act (66/1965)Guardian’s Fund: Master of the North Gauteng High Court (Pretoria & Mmabatho)
GoN 2541 Administration of Estates Act (66/1965)Guardian’s Fund: Cape Town Master’s Office


Consequently, even if you were a member of a retirement fund in South Africa as far back as 1981, you can still be eligible for a payout that hasn’t been paid out since your previous fund is unable to get in touch with you. 

If the fund’s regulations provide that you, the member, have the right to claim this sum, the fund can transfer the unclaimed benefits to a pension or provident fund, where the member or his or her beneficiaries can claim the benefit. Benefits from retirement funds cannot be lost. Unpaid benefits are referred to as “unclaimed benefits.”

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