Fund ordered to pay child after paternity dispute
After nearly five years of fighting a provident fund over paternity tests, an unemployed mother will now receive more than R300,000 for her minor child.
The Star reports FundsAtWork Umbrella Provident Fund wanted the mother to prove her then one-year-old son had a claim on a deceased married man’s provident fund. The child, now seven, was eligible for R313,877, while the man’s wife would get R538,074 and his then 16-year old daughter R44,839.
The man died in 2014 and had seven children with his wife.
The six, who were adults at the time of his death, were disqualified from benefiting because there would not be enough money in the fund to distribute among all beneficiaries.
When the woman submitted a DNA test to prove that the deceased was the father, she was informed the money had already been distributed in October 2018 and her son was not eligible for any of it. H
is portion was given to the wife and daughter.
The woman lodged a complaint with Deputy Pension Funds Adjudicator, Advocate Matome Thulare, in October last year.
According to The Star, she said the fund had not informed her there was a deadline for her to submit the paternity test, and that she needed the money to raise the child.
In their defence, FundsAtWork Umbrella Provident Fund said the law only allowed a year to trace possible dependents and they had given the mother enough time to prove paternity.
Thulare said the fund had not put what was in the best interests of the child first.
‘It is clear that the first respondent accepted that (the child) was factually supported by the deceased. It is not clear what purpose a DNA test could have served to prove that (the child) was a dependent … Withholding the payment in respect of (the child), after it had accepted him as a factual dependent, based on the production of DNA test results was an act of irrationality on the part of the fund.’
Thulare added: ‘Instead, the fund caused the complainant to undergo undue emotional and financial hardship in producing a DNA test report which she could not afford.’
Article disclaimer: While we have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of this article, it is not intended to provide final legal advice as facts and situations will differ from case to case, and therefore specific legal advice should be sought with a lawyer.