GEPF ANNOUNCES AN INCREASE TO THE FUNERAL BENEFITS

Media Release
09 May 2024, Pretoria

In a significant move to bolster support for members, pensioners, and beneficiaries during times of bereavement, the GEPF is pleased to announce a 25% increase in the funeral benefits for members. The purpose of GEPF funeral benefits is to help pay the funeral costs when a member or pensioner passes away. Funeral benefits are also paid out on the death of the spouse, life partner or eligible child of a member or pensioner.

This increase is effective from 1 April 2024 and will be applied retrospectively. All deaths occurring from 1 April 2024, will be eligible for the enhanced benefits. Dependents whose loved ones passed away from this date onwards and have already received a payment will also be eligible for a top-up to the benefit previously paid.

The enhanced funeral benefits are as follows:

  • Member or pensioner: R20 000
  • Spouse of member or pensioner: R20 000
  • Eligible child: R8 000 per child; and
  • Stillborn child: R8 000 per stillborn.

Previously, the funeral benefits for a member and pensioner were R15 000 and R6 000 for children and stillborn respectively.

The GEPF acknowledges the cultural and social significance of funerals within many South African communities, recognising them as essential rites that allow families to honour their loved ones with dignity. Aware of the financial strain these ceremonies can place on families, amplified by current economic challenges, the GEPF has acted to ease the burden.

It is after due consideration of these factors that the GEPF Board of Trustees (BoT) has increased the payment values of the funeral benefits to provide further assistance to families of GEPF members, pensioners, and beneficiaries during their time of bereavement. The decision reflects a deep understanding of the members’ and beneficiaries’ needs during such vulnerable times. This adjustment is designed to provide substantial relief, helping families focus on healing rather than financial stress.

Importantly, the criteria regarding how members, pensioners and beneficiaries qualify to submit a claim and the associated procedures for the funeral benefits remains unchanged. Details regarding the qualification criteria and procedures are outlined in detail on the GEPF website on the following link, https://www.gepf.co.za/funeral-benefits/

The GEPF is confident that the enhancement of the funeral benefits will contribute to easing the financial and emotional pressures on families, ensuring loved ones are commemorated with the respect and dignity they deserve.

/Ends
Issued by Government Employees Pension Fund

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GEPF Self-service portal and App offline

Dear Members and Pensioners

Please be advised that the GEPF self-service portal and app remain offline due to the cyber security breaches that occurred at our administrator, the Government Pensions Administration Agency (GPAA) in February and March 2024. The GPAA has determined that a complete rebuild of these platforms is necessary to ensure a more robust platform.  The GPAA anticipates that these platforms will be operational by 21 June 2024.

Members and pensioners are requested to visit GEPF offices or call the call centre on 0800 117 669 for any pension-related enquiries until these systems are fully restored. Requests for benefits statements, IRP5 tax certificates and other documents should also be made through these channels.

The GEPF sincerely apologises to its members, pensioners, and beneficiaries for the inconvenience. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work diligently to enhance our systems to serve you better.

Issued by:
Government Employees Pension Fund

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GEPF ACKNOWLEDGES ROLE OF DR MOTSUENYANE IN SOUTH AFRICA

Media Statement

Pretoria:  02 May 2024

The Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) has noted with sadness the passing away of Dr Samuel Motsuenyane.

Commenting on the role Dr Motsuenyane played in the South African economy, the Chairperson of the GEPF, Dondo Mogajane stated, “South Africa has lost an inspirational leader who had a profound impact on the development of black business especially during the dark days of apartheid. His bold leadership and unwavering commitment in ensuring that black business takes its rightful place in South Africa remains a key contribution in ensuring an all-inclusive South African economy, especially for the marginalised black entrepreneurs”.

“Dr Motsuenyane, who played a key role in the formation of the African Bank which was formed with the primary purpose of providing capital to black South Africans, contributed immeasurably to the development of black business. His role in the founding of the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nafcoc) was instrumental in shaping black business in our country”.

On behalf of the GEPF we offer our condolences to the Motsuenyane family.

Issued by:
Government Employees Pension Fund

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THE GEPF CONTINUES TO BE A LEADER IN RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENT PRACTICES

Media Release

Pretoria: 15 April 2024

The GEPF scored significantly above the median range compared to its local and global peers
of asset owners for responsible investing activities in the PRI 2023 Assessment Report.

PRI reporting is the largest global reporting project on responsible investment developed with
investors, for investors. The report facilitates learning and development by outlining how
signatories’ responsible investment activities compare year-on-year, across asset classes,
and with peers at a local and global level by providing high-level comparative data.

The GEPF scored exceptionally well across the various categories and in particular, on policy
governance and strategy, listed equity (active and passive) as well on fixed income and private
equity. The GEPF achieved scores ranging from 85 – 91%, well above the PRI median range
of between 40 – 65%, outperforming many of its local and global peers. The high scores signify
the GEPF’s commitment to include ESG factors in investment and ownership decision making
through the consistent application of fiduciary responsibility, in line with PRI Principle 6.

The impressive scores and stars achieved by the GEPF in the assessment report are listed
below:
• Policy governance and strategy: 81% and 4-stars (PRI median: 40-65%)
• Indirect – Listed equity – Passive: 91% and 5-stars (PRI median: 40-65%)
• Indirect – Listed equity – Active: 91% and 5-stars (PRI median: 40-65%)
• Indirect – Fixed income – Passive: 89% and 4-stars (PRI median: 40-65%)
• Indirect – Fixed income – Active: 89% and 4-stars (PRI median: 40-65%)
• Indirect – Private equity: 89% and 4-stars (PRI median: 40-65%)
• Confidence building measures: 85% and 4-stars (PRI median: 65-90%)

The GEPF is a founding signatory to the UNPRI and has been a member of the initiative since
its inception in 2006. PRI reporting is the largest global reporting project on responsible
investment and PRI signatories are required to report publicly on their responsible investment
activities each year. In turn, they receive several outputs, including an Assessment Report.

The scoring methodology for the 2023 Reporting Framework has an overall focus on:
• Signatories’ responsible investment implementation across their overall investment
processes;
• How specific responsible investment practices are implemented as a percentage of
assets under management covered;
• How sophisticated the responsible investment practices are for the majority of assets
under management;
• Consistency, including how policies are applied in different asset classes or subcategories, how policies are implemented by external managers or service providers;

The GEPF’s approach to responsible investment is driven by its Responsible Investment
Policy underpinned by the GEPF’ commitment and recognition that as an institutional investor,
we have a duty to act in the best long-term interests of our beneficiaries. The full report can
be found here, https://www.gepf.co.za/responsible-investment

Issued by:
Government Employees Pension Fund

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THE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES PENSION FUND PENSIONERS WILL RECEIVE A 6% ANNUAL PENSION INCREASE AS OF 1 APRIL 2024

The Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) is pleased to announce an annual pension increase of 6% to its pensioners effective 1 April 2024.

Pensioners who retired on or before 1 April 2023 are to receive an increase of 6%. Pensioners who retired after 1 April 2023 are to receive a proportionate increase based on the number of months they have been in receipt of pension by 31 March 2024.

This pension increase is based on the 5.50% inflation rate for the 12 months ending 30 November 2023 thus making the 6% increase equal to 109.1% of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) as provided in terms of GEP Law and Rules. The GEPF aims to grant increases to enable pensioners to keep up with rises in inflation but subject to this being affordable to the Fund at the given time.

The GEPF’s decision to grant inflation related increases is guided by our policies and a strong commitment to support our pensioners in managing the cost of living. We consistently strive to balance the need for reasonable pension adjustments with the long-term sustainability of the Fund.

It is noteworthy that increases beyond the stipulations of GEP Law and Rules are subject to policy considerations at the discretion of the Board, which meticulously considers the Fund’s investment performance, overall financial health, and the need to maintain the purchasing power of the pensions it pays to the extent affordable.

The GEPF remains dedicated to serving the best interests of its pensioners, ensuring they continue to enjoy a secure and dignified retirement.

For more information, please contact:

Call Centre:0800 117 669

Email: enquiries@gepf.co.za

Twitter: @GEPF_SA

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Government Pensions Administration Agency (GPAA) data breach

MEDIA RELEASE

12 March 2024

The Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) has noted the release of data purportedly from its administrator, the Government Pensions Administration Agency (GPAA) by the ransomware group LockBit.

The GEPF is extremely concerned with this alleged security breach, as it was informed by GPAA that no data breach had occurred when it was notified of an attempt to gain access to GPAA systems by unknown individuals on the 16 February 2024. The GPAA subsequently established that this was an attempt by the ransomware group LockBit.

This morning, 12 March 2024, following the release of certain GPAA data by LockBit on 11 March 2024, the GEPF has been informed by GPAA that preliminary investigations has found that the certain GPAA systems were compromised. The GPAA is investigating the alleged data breach and whether this impacts the GEPF.

GPAA has reconfirmed that preventative action was taken when it became aware of the attempted access to its systems which included “shutting down” all systems to isolate affected areas. GPAA further confirmed that pension payments are not affected.

The GEPF is engaging with the GPAA and its oversight authority, the National Treasury to establish the veracity and impact of the reported data breach and will provide a further update in due course. Until the facts have been adequately established, the GEPF is unable to comment further on the matter.

Issued by:

Government Employees Pension Fund
For more information, please contact:

Matau Molapo
Email: matau.molapo@gepf.co.za
012 424 7315

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GEPF warns of fake letters with respect pension payments

The Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) has become aware of fraudulent letters being sent to GEPF members and pensioners, using fake GEPF letterheads by fraudsters trying to defraud members and pensioners off their pension’s monies.

The individuals are sending letters to GEPF members and pensioners to request information relating to their pending pension payments. These letters request members and pensioners to provide:

  • Personal details such as identity numbers, pension numbers and bank details.
  • Confirm that they agree to transact electronically with the GEPF with respect to submitting and processing of their information.
  • Verifying personal details including email and cell phone details.
  • Accept and respond to a One-time Pin (OTP) to legitimise the communication.

Members and pensioners are also being targeted via SMS’s encouraging them to resign and collect their pensions indicating that they would receive more funds when they resign rather than retire.

Pensioners and members are advised not to respond to such correspondence. Such correspondence should be brought to the attention of the GEPF. Pensioners and members are further advised to always contact the Fund to verify any type of communication, especially when they are expecting payment on their pensions.

The GEPF would like to make its members, pensioners, beneficiaries, and their families aware that:

  • GEPF services are FREE
  • No one is allowed to ask for a fee to assist GEPF current or former members, pensioners, beneficiaries, or their families with respect to GEPF services
  • Members and pensioners are requested not to share their personal information such as identity document number, pension number, email addresses, cell phone numbers and bank account details.

Note to editor

GEPF is the largest Pension Fund in Africa with over 1.2 million active members and about 500 000 pensioners and beneficiaries. The Fund is responsible for more than R2.3 trillion in assets under its management.

Issued by: Government Pensions Administration Agency

For more information:

Enquires: GPAA Head of Communication: Mack Lewele 082 450 5076 or Dr Rakgwatha Mokou: 0818140030

Or contact the GEPF on:

Call Centre:0800 117 669
Email: enquiries@gepf.co.za
Twitter: @GEPF_SA

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GEPF’s investment strategies continue to protect the Funds’ assets as it reaches R2.32 trillion market value amidst a poor performing South African and global economy

MEDIA RELEASE

20 November 2023, Pretoria

The Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) is pleased to announce its financial results for the year ended 31 March 2023.

Key Performance Indicators:

  • Investment portfolio increased by R27.1 billion to R2.32 trillion from the previous financial year
  • Investment market value increased by 1.2%
  • Return on Investment of 3.5%
  • Accumulated funds and reserves grew at an average annual rate of 6.65% for the 10-year period 2014-2023
  • Net investment income of R82.2 billion (interest income of R 56.7 billion, dividend income of R56.4 billion and property income of R 2.03 billion)
  • Member contributions of R83.1 billion • Benefits paid of R 137.4 billion
  • Benefits paid of R 137.4 billion

In a period of uncertainty including poor economic performances, globally and in South Africa, the financial year 2022/23 was a challenging year for investors around the world. Despite these challenges, the GEPF investment portfolio recorded growth of 1.2% to a market value of R2.32 trillion, the largest in its history. This represents a growth of R27.1 billion, a 3,5% return on investment. Net investment income for the year amounted to R 82.2 billion, derived largely from dividend income of R56 billion, interest income of R 56.7 billion and net profit on sale of investments of R22.2 billion.

The positive performance can be primarily attributed to the positive performance of bonds and the depreciation of the local currency. The GEPF’s 10-year annualised return was 6.65%, illustrating financial stability with a funding level of 110.1%.

The modest growth amidst the tough economic conditions illustrates that the Fund has been very resilient, and that the Fund’s investment strategies continue to protect the Funds’ assets. The investment for the financial year is satisfactory, noting the tough and volatile economic conditions that global and local investors faced. Staying the course and not panicking when faced with sudden market volatility remains a crucial aspect of GEPF’s strategy.

Active membership remained stable over the year, while pensioner membership steadily increased. Active membership increased from 1 261 363 in 2021/22 to 1 267 307 in 2022/23 and contribution income increased by 1.39% during the reporting period. The increase is mainly because of an increase in retirements, resignations, and child pensions, while funeral and death benefits decreased.

The number of pensioners increased from 322 223 in 2021/22 to 336 629 in 2022/23. The total value of gratuities paid was R22.3 billion and annuities paid was R70.4 billion. The Fund finalised 37 440 retirement claims compared with 33 627 in 2021/22, reflecting an increase of 11% in claims. Resignation benefits paid amounted R32,9 billion (2022: R33,8 billion), R9,8 billion (2022: R14,8 billion) was paid in death benefits and funeral benefits worth R416 million were paid (2022: R550,1 million). Spouses pension benefits to the value of R12.1 billion (2022: R11.5 billion) were paid to 171 592 beneficiaries (167 679 in 2021/22), and R948.8 million (2022: R551.4 million) was paid in child pension benefits to 15 809 qualifying children (2021/22: 9 824).

These figures illustrate the GEPF’s commitment to meet its financial obligations and pay benefits to its members, pensioners, and beneficiaries. The Fund remains cash flow positive with R53 billion as of 31 March 2023. This is largely attributable to benefits paid of R137 billion, net investment income received of R107 billion, and contributions received of R83 billion.

The GEPF revised the mandate agreement with the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) for listed and unlisted investments during the 2021/22 reporting period and the revised agreements were signed effective from 01 April 2022. The revised mandate seeks to strengthen governance over the execution of the investment strategy by the PIC (on behalf of the GEPF), create a more harmonious legal framework, improve the focus and implementation of investment guidelines, and introduce accountability mechanisms in case of poor investment decisions. There is a need for greater transparency and accountability in the relationship between the GEPF and the PIC.

Furthermore, the GEPF and its administrator, the Government Pensions Administration Agency (GPAA) are exploring different models and methods to improve the payment of benefits. Over the past financial year, several initiatives were launched to realise this goal, including enhanced collaboration with employer departments, labour unions and continuing member and beneficiary outreach initiatives.

The new GEPF Board was appointed in July 2022 and is committed to growing the Fund as well as ensuring that the Fund becomes more efficient and effective in benefits administration and its investment strategies.

/Ends

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

Issued by Government Employees Pension Fund Media
Enquiries:
Matau Molapo

T: +27 (0) 12 424 7315

M: +27 (0)79 1910 757

E: Matau.molapo@gepf.co.za

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GEPF Chairperson Dondo Mogajane announces launch of Transformation Policy

Media Statement
10 October 2023

Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) Chairperson Dondo Mogajane officially launched the GEPF’s Transformation Policy last week, marking a watershed move for economic transformation in South Africa. This policy, unveiled at the GEPF Annual Thought Leadership Conference 2023 in Cape Town, will throw the full weight of Africa’s largest pension fund behind promoting socio-economic development and addressing historic inequalities within the country and the financial sector.

Speaking at the conference, which was attended by influential figures from the financial sector and high-ranking government officials, Mogajane called on the financial services industry to rethink the way in which it invests and join in creating a more equitable and inclusive financial sector.

As South Africa’s largest investor with R2.3 trillion in assets under management, he highlighted the GEPF’s own resolute commitment to driving socio-economic change within the local financial landscape through strategically leveraging current and prospective investments, guided by the Transformation Policy.

“Being South Africa’s largest investor, we understand the important role we can play in addressing South Africa’s socio-economic imbalances through supporting and facilitating transformation, economic growth, job creation, and positive environmental outcomes,” he said.

“The Transformation Policy will be used to guide investments that will promote socioeconomic transformation, identifying specific impact areas that will be targeted to realise our objectives.”

It is important to note that ultimately if done correctly, the socio-economic transformation of our economy will result in an improved quality of life of our members, pensioners, and beneficiaries as well as the disadvantaged members of society.

The four key areas identified by the Transformation Policy include:

1. Industry-level transformation: The GEPF is committed to actively investing in return-seeking, sound investments that support the transformation of the financial services sector. These investments should encourage the growth of black-owned asset managers, private equity fund managers, fixed-income asset managers, audit firms, actuaries, and other relevant emerging financial service providers within the sector.

2. Economic transformation: The policy underscores return-seeking investments that advance Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) and transformation within the broader economy, and support access to finance for black-owned small and medium-sized enterprises, fostering job creation and economic growth.

3. Socio-economic transformation: The GEPF will channel investments into asset classes that aim to deliver positive financial and social service outcomes for South Africa’s previously disadvantaged populations, directly addressing historical disparities.

4. Environmental sustainability: Recognising the importance of considering ESG factors when making investment decisions, and especially environmental responsibility, the GEPF is committed to investments that support South Africa’s just transition and long-term environmental sustainability. These should include measures to mitigate climate change and promote renewable energy.

Mogajane emphasised that the GEPF intends to play an active role in overseeing the companies and projects it invests in, ensuring that its investments remain in alignment with its transformation objectives.

“I believe that for too long, the financial sector has been comfortable with the ‘same’. It is for this reason that we at the GEPF have taken the crucial policy decision to address some of the challenges that we face as a country, as an industry, and as an institution.

“We are excited about the launch of our Transformation Policy. Our commitment to South Africa and Africa is clear,” he concluded.

ENDS

For more information, please contact:
Matau Molapo,
GEPF Stakeholder Management and Communications Division

T: +27 (0) 12 424 7315

M: +27 (0)79 1910 757

E: Matau.molapo@gepf.co.za

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Reminder for multiple income earners to make their choices

Media Statement
27 June 2023

In September 2022, some Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) pensioners were taxed at a higher tax rate following a directive from the South African Revenue Service (SARS) as informed by a provision for a revised rate of tax in the Income Tax Act. This provision was only applicable to pensioners with more than one source of taxable income, including their GEPF pension.

This year (2023), the GEPF sent correspondence to pensioners affected by the higher tax deduction providing them with the option to either accept the revised tax rate or continue with the normal PAYE tax rate applicable to their pension. Not all affected pensioners have responded to the request.

We remind affected pensioners who have not yet responded to the request to make their tax choices, to do so as soon as possible. The forms for this purpose are available on the GEPF website, www.gepf.co.za or at GEPF regional offices. Pensioners who have outstanding SARS debts and wish to settle them should make arrangements directly with SARS. The GEPF cannot assist with arrangements to settle outstanding SARS debts and this deduction cannot be used for that purpose.

Required documents:

1. A form stating your choice, amount, and dates for deduction (obtainable at GEPF Offices and on the GEPF website)
2. A certified copy of the ID of the member (both sides of your SA ID Card, or your green barcoded ID book.)
3. Non-South African nationals should attach a certified copy of their valid passport. All certified copies are valid for six months only.

Submission Instructions:

The original form must be delivered to any GEPF regional office across the country or by email paye@gpaa.gov.za or by postal services to:

Government Employees Pension Fund
Private Bag X63
Pretoria
0001
Pensioners can also contact the GEPF Call Centre: 0800 117669 if further information is required.

Media enquiries : media@gpaa.gov.za /Mack Lewele 0824505076

The GEPF respects privacy and personal information of its members and pensioners and therefore subscribes to the provisions of the Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013. Visit www.gepf.co.za to view GEPF Privacy Policy and Privacy statement.

Issued by the Government Pensions Administration Agency (GPAA) on behalf of the Government Employees Pension Fund

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