Why would a firm of legal practitioners refuse? Could it have been because they had good grounds to doubt its legality, we wondered.
Anyway I managed to wriggle out of joining because I claimed to be too old. And I found other reasons and so escaped this wicked net.
In general, our poor impression of NSSA derived from little things like their failure to respond to phone calls as well as their failure to reply to letters. Workers would plead for help when applying for their pensions. Nothing would come from this pension fund if an employer could not fill-in long forms with information on payments, names and ID numbers.
It was as though NSSA kept no records. They made it as difficult as possible for workers to get their contributions back. Currently I am a co-director of a small company which used to employ two people; my son and his driver. Due to lack of opportunities, my son has moved temporarily to Johannesburg and had to let his driver go. The driver has found another job.
I then asked NSSA for the driver’s NSSA number and card. I wanted him to take his NSSA records to his new employers so that his pension contributions may continue.
The response from NSSA was a copy of their P3 form which they wanted me to fill-in, giving the former employee’s full details.
I then wondered where our money had been going if they did not already have this information. How can it be morally right to just take money without keeping a record of where it was from and who it was for?
If an employer does not keep employee records, employees might never see their contributions again particularly if they don’t ask questions. After all, NSSA was a mere 3% deduction from their pay which they never saw anyway.
All these little contributions over the years have culminated in what we see today. As one journalist put it NSSA is now the “lender of last resort”. They are now bailing out troubled companies. Is this the role of a pension fund?