ISSUE 1, 2006
Old friend gets
or many decades pensioners have been paid regular visits by a
highly valued friend.This old friend has been a faithful messenger
INSIDE between pensioner and pension fund, a trusted source of crucial
information. A recent survey among pensioners revealed that
the pensioner newsletter is a highly regarded source of information.
Virtually all pensioners look forward to receiving this true pensioner’s
friend. In the case of MEPF pensioners, their ‘friend’ has always gone
1 by the name of Informant, whilst the name Senti-News should be more
Old friend gets a familiar to Sentinel pensioners.
Based on pensioner feedback, the Senti-News and Informant have
been combined to form one newsletter – the one you are holding in
2 your hands right now. With its title Informant for Pensioners, it contains
information of interest to both Sentinel and MEPF pensioners. At the
same time, the trusted friend of all pensioners was given a fresh new The Funds have recently
information appearance and a new format aimed at easy reading and ﬁling. acquired the ability to
sessions for 2006 communicate to pension-
Because the readership now comprises pensioners from both Funds, ers who own cell phones,
will take place
some articles will be of interest to both MEPF and Sentinel readers, via SMS. Short informa-
earlier! whilst others will be fund-speciﬁc. These will be denoted as such by tive messages regarding
their headings, as well as the use of fund logos, colour, layout and pension matters can now
3 more. be sent to individual cell
ed your cell phone nu
phone numbers by the
Report back The kind of topics covered will remain as they were. In particular, old Funds from time to time.
on pensioner favourites will continue. More contributions from pensioners wishing
to share their unique experiences before and after retirement, will Pensioners who wish to
also be incorporated in future. Retired mine manager, Bill Conradie, activate this service, are
audit pioneers this new feature by recounting his experiences before and invited to send an SMS
after retiring in A mining man remembers. to the number 34010.
In line with a language policy decision taken by the Boards of both Please SMS the word
Trevor’s Choice for Funds, the newsletter will appear only in English. However, subject to the OTHER, followed by a
2006/2007 availability of translators, pensioners will now be able to order speciﬁc blank space, followed by
articles in any of the 11 ofﬁcial South African languages. A major aim of your 13-digit ID number,
5 the Board decision is to save costs by avoiding duplication, so pensioners
are kindly requested to exercise discretion in using this facility.
a comma, the word CELL,
another comma and
From the lastly your cell phone
We invite all pensioners to give us feedback. Within the limits of what number.
is practical, pensioner feedback will be used to actively shape future
Kannaland issues. All pensioners are also kindly invited to write in and share their Example:
thoughts on retirement with us. Readers wishing to contribute other OTHER 4205075098088,
6 content (in the form of short articles) are invited to e-mail the editor CELL, 0828819070
for further details.
A mining man A message will be sent back
remembers Written comments and contributions can be posted to: to your phone, conﬁrming
The Editor, Informant for Pensioner, P.O. Box 61172, Marshalltown, 2107. that your details have been
Comments can also be e-mailed to Informant@mpf.co.za.
Pensioner information sessions for 2006
will take place earlier!
This year several presenters will cover different areas at the same time,
allowing the 2006 road show to be completed within a two-week period,
from 25 July to 3 August 2006. Only one presentation will take place per
venue. It will start at 10:00 and information on both Funds will be covered.
Practical considerations, pensioner feedback, updated geographical distribution
data and previous attendance ﬁgures determined venues (see schedule):
Date Town Venue Tel Contact
Witbank 082 875 0300 Jeanette
Cnr Watermeyer & Stevenson Road, Witbank
NG Church Helikon Park
Randfontein (011) 412 3441 Hermien
Condore Avenue, Helicon Park
25 Jul Wesrandse Vereniging vir die Fisies Gestremde Mev.
Krugersdorp (011) 953 5082
10:00 Cnr Frans Korb & Wheeler Street, Oatlands Oosthuizen
Beacon Bay Country Club,
East London (043) 748 3566 Cheryl
Beacon Hurst Drive.
Parys El Shammah (056) 818 1577 Erika
Middelburg Country Club
Middelburg (013) 282 6176 Rose
Eeufees Street, Middelburg
Blyvooruitzicht Blyvooruitzicht Rec Club (018) 789 9030 Rienie
Wed Roodepoort Roodepoort City Hall (011) 761 6094 Elizabeth
10:00 Port Alfred Hotel & Hydro,
Port Alfred (046) 624 1133 Onika
Victoria Hall, 7 Albany Road
National Museum of Military History - J C
Johannesburg Lemmer Auditorium (011) 646 5513 Evelyn
22 Earlswold Way, Johannesburg
Klerksdorp Village Square (018) 478 2862 Geraldine
27 Jul Port Elizabeth (041) 583 3131 Liezel
Marine Drive, Summerstrand
Springs CivicHall (011) 360 2000 Lienkie
New Castle (034) 315 5011 Jay
27 Victoria Street, New Castle
Langebaan Langebaan Town Hall (022) 772 2442 Louisa
1 Aug Rustenburg Rustenburg Hoërskool Lapa (014) 592 1365 Nola
Bain’s Game Lodge
Bloemfontein (051) 451 1761 Erika
Boksburg Ekurhuleni Library Auditorium (011) 899 4258 Antoinette
Villa Via Hotel
Gordon’s Bay (021) 856 8200 Nicole
Breakwater Lane, Harbour Island
Wed Pretoria Voortrekker Monument - Function Centre (012) 321 6230
2 Aug Pierre
10:00 Welkom Welkom Club – Main Hall (057) 352 6389 Fiona
Durban Country Club
Durban (031) 313 1777 Cheryl
Walter Gilbert Road,
Protea Hotel King George
George (044) 874 7659 Zonia
King George Drive, George
Thur Klein Kariba ATKV Pleasure Resort
Warmbad (014) 736 9839 Shone
3 Aug Bela-Bela
10:00 Henneman Hennenman Community Hall (057) 574 5211 Annetjie
Uvongo (039) 315 1230 Vuyo
1 Marine Drive, St Michaels-on sea
on pensioner communication audit
During the course of 2005, the Trustees of both Funds agreed to have a comprehensive audit done to gauge the
general levels of satisfaction of pensioners regarding communication from their Funds. An independent research
ﬁrm sent questionnaires to one in every four pensioners, randomly selected. The research yielded valuable feedback
on perceptions regarding general fund performance, the quality of communication to pensioners, as well as the
communication preferences of pensioners.
It is clear that pensioners across the board consider commu- The newsletters are highly valued by pensioners of both Funds
nication from the Funds to be highly useful and informative in all geographical areas. Across the board, newsletters are rated
and that it enriches their retirement lifestyle. Pensioners view as relevant, interesting, informative, up-to-date and easy to
communication from the Funds as a means of keeping in touch understand. Pensioner feedback was referred to extensively in
with the world of work, with lifestyle information and with ex- the redesign of the pensioner newsletter.
The value placed on road show presentations vary considerably
According to the independent communication consultants who from region to region. On the one hand the road shows were
performed the research on behalf of the Funds, pensioners’ ratings rated as relatively interesting and informative, but not always
of staff and management competency, beneﬁt structures, fund particularly relevant, up-to-date or easy to understand. These
reputation, overall communication experience and investment are seen as areas for future improvement and further written
performance far exceeded industry norms. comments from pensioners are invited.
Written channels, such as newsletters, are preferred by the We thank everyone who took the time to complete the
majority of pensioners polled. Verbal channels were preferred by questionnaires and we strive to use this information to
just under 30% of pensioners polled, whilst a mere 8% indicated continuously improve communication with our pensioners.
a preference for electronic channels, such as the web sites, e-mail We also invite your ongoing letters with suggestions in
and SMS services. Over two thirds of pensioners turn to ﬁnancial this regard. Letters with feedback on this topic may be
newspapers, as well as colleagues and friends when looking for addressed to Pierre Roets, Pensioner Communication
pension-related information. Feedback, P.O. Box 61172, Marshalltown, 2107.
Trevor’s Choice for
In his budget speech in parliament, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel said that
‘to budget means to choose’. The choice he made was to spread the beneﬁts
of a buoyant economy equally between ﬁnancing today’s consumption and
increasing the capacity of the economy to grow on the future.
To achieve these two goals, some of the R 41 billion revenue available
was passed on to individuals in the form of tax cuts and the balance was
allocated towards improving and building new infrastructure.
The following tax changes, pertaining to pensioners, were announced:
N O T I C E
As from 1 July 2006, the local fund ��������������
administration ofﬁce for pensioners of ����������
Sentinel and MEPF living in the Witbank
area, will be relocated. ������������
The telephone number will remain �����
(013) 692 5183. Pensioners who experience ����������������
difﬁculties in contacting the Witbank Ofﬁce, ����������� ������
are kindly requested to phone (011) 481
8000. We apologise for any inconvenience
due to the move.
• The annual individual income threshold below which the primary residence exclusion from capital gains tax was
no tax is payable, was increased to R 40 000 and, for raised from R 1 million to R 1.5 million. The exemption on
individuals aged 65 and older, to R65 000. Tax rate transfer duty was raised to R 500 000, which means that
reductions will create tax savings between R 900 and transfer duty will only become payable if the value of the
R 9900 per year per individual, depending on their taxable purchased property exceeds R 500 000. Hopefully these
income for the year. The new tax tables were implemented announcements will bring relief to pensioners when
by the Funds in March this year to pass tax reductions on to selling or buying property.
pensioners without delay.
• Medical expenses paid during a tax year can be claimed
• The domestic interest and dividend exemption was raised to as a tax deduction by individuals aged 65 and older. If
R 16 500 and for individuals aged 65 and older, to R 24 500. you are not registered as a tax payer, you can contact
Married couples must remember that both spouses qualify your local Receiver of Revenue (SARS) for assistance.
for this exemption. (Remember, if the Funds handle your medical aid
contributions for you, a tax deduction is processed
on your monthly pension and only additional
medical expenses paid can be claimed at the end
on the tax year.) Individuals under the age 65 are
entitled to a tax deduction only if the medical
expenses exceed 7.5% of their taxable income
• The annual donations tax exemption was raised from for the year.
R 30 000 to R 50 000 per donor. (In case your children have
not already reminded you: Any natural person can donate • Sin taxes got the same old treatment.
R 50 000 per year free from donations tax; obviously only Smokers and drinkers will again have to
if you want to and your children deserve it! Fortunately, cough-up.
donations between spouses are exempted from donations
tax.) Hopefully Trevor Manuel's speech (which
incidentally contained 9 024 words and
• As far as “capital taxes” are concerned, the exemption of with its supporting documents weighing
estate duty was raised by R 1 million to R 2.5 million and in at just over 4 kg!) will bring some
relief to most, if not all pensioners.
From the Kamdebo
to Kannaland John Finley continues his travels...
From Kamdebo to the Olifants
The Kamdebo mountains have also had soaking rains and the
veld is as green as can be.
We left Goliatskraal se Hoogte behind us and drove on to An elderly lady once clariﬁed the local place name Willowmore
the Gem of the Karoo: Graaff-Reinett. I wanted to see the for me: It was a contraction of “William O’Moore” - her great
Valley of Desolation again after 30 years and the weather grandfather. One wonders where names like the “Oompies”
was perfect for sightseeing. and the “Slangkoppies” rivers originated?
Up to the valley At Ghwarriepoort we are stopped at a roadblock aimed at
preventing the spread of swine fever. We have no pork products
A short drive along the Murraysburg road leads to the so we are free to proceed (I forgot to mention we earlier had had
turnoff to the valley. The eight kilometer stretch of road bacon for breakfast). The Olifants River has only a trickle of water in
had been tarred since my last visit, but is as steep as a it. Centuries ago there were elephants here as bones or fragments
mini Swartberg Pass. Entrance into the reserve is free and of tusks are sometimes dug up. Mountain tortoises have survived
there is a good variety of wildlife. The chances of seeing though, and I ﬁnd one labouring across the road headed for the
kudu, wildebeest or mountain zebra in the noonday heat Kammanassie mountains and its greater variety of succulents.
are remote though. From the parking lot on top of the
mountain, it is a short walk to the viewing sites.
There are grand sweeping views across the plains of
Kamdebo towards Pearston and to distant hills and
mountains in the hazy distance. Good rains have left a
tinge of green on the surrounding hills and plains. From
the heights one can clearly see the spread of the town
far below in the bend of the Sunday’s River. Spandau
Kop (named after a German fortress) is a very
prominent Karoo peak. The great dolorite cliffs have
been weathered and shaped over the ages to impart
a startling grandeur to the valley. A deep silence
hangs over the valley.
The entire spectacle is so uplifting and is worth all
the effort to get there.
Will it rain in Kannaland?
From Stompdrift to the Cango River and beyond to Oudtshoorn the
countryside could do with some showers. One day during a hot dry
spell in the Klaarstroom district I asked a farm labourer about the
prospects for rain. He pointed to a white cloud hanging over a peak
of the Great Swartberg, and said “die reën gaan kom”.Two days later
Kannaland got soaking rains.
I am in Oudtshoorn gazing up at the Swartberg peaks. There is a
white cloud drifting over one of the peaks.
PHOTO OF ELEPHANT: Knysna Information Bureau
VALLEY OF DESOLATION: Graaff-Reinett Publicity
A mining man remembers
ill Conradie, a Sentinel pensioner who retired Bill started his mining career as a learner ofﬁcial on the
in 1994 with 42 years’ service, recently old Crown Mines. He spent 16 years in gold mining,
shared some memories of his working life followed by a ﬁve-year stint in Hotazel, where he was
and a few thoughts on the adjustment to retired involved in manganese mining. Bill ended his rugby
life. Bill and his wife, Nell, initially settled in Pretoria career there in the searing Kalahari heat and has fond
after his retirement, but they have since moved to memories of this part of his life.
Boksburg to be closer to their grandchildren. Bill is
known by all his friends as a straight-talker and a go- Returning from the copper and scheelite mines at
getter, with a somewhat wicked sense of humour. Mutandawhe (in the former Rhodesia), Bill joined the
He gets a twinkle in the eye when he says he would RandCoal team tasked with bringing Duvha Opencast
like to “die with my boots on”. Here, indeed, is a Mine into production. He singles out the 18 years spent at Duvha as the
true mining man, who even learned opencast mining highlight of his career. Bill recalls: “We fed the Duvha Power Station with coal
directly from the Navaho people in New Mexico – one million tons per month, and we were the ﬁrst open cast coal mine in the
(but that is a story for another time). world to produce over one million tons of coal in one month.”
One would think that Bill would long for a quiet retirement after 42 years of
spread your wings mining gold, manganese, copper and ﬁnally coal. Bill begs to differ: “If I ever
return to Earth…I will most probably go mining again!” He explains: “Mining
tre line lush the fertile kloofs
their seeking roots car the cliﬀ guys are action guys and retiring when I did was a mistake. I should have died
falling water crash a cadence with my boots on!” He describes retirement as “quite a traumatic experience,
moss forms clinging to the hang a culture shock”. According to Bill the hardest part was to no longer be
surrounded by “hundreds of friends and colleagues”. Bill especially misses the
high the mountains rise and proud people, the action and the sense that you are “someone who matters”, but has
thoughts of man on cliﬀ face ched
hos of hardship and nostalgia found an antidote: “Keep ﬁt; keep your body and your muscles in tone.” He
a yearning perhaps for a love not lost goes to gym at 5 o’clock every morning, even on his birthday. He jokes:“At least
I’ll be healthy when I die!”
perhaps the chasms contain your srs
cherished srs of you and of me Bill singles out his association with the Mine Pension Funds as one highlight of
spread your wings oh mortal child
on the ﬂight of love that binds us close retired life. He expresses his sincere appreciation for good friends made at the
Funds. Bill appreciates the “invaluable support and friendship” of, among many
look to Heaven’s splendid blue others, Louise Joubert, Mike Smith,Tony Arbuthnot and Pierre Roets. Bill is also
behold the Father’s lenitude appreciative of the increase and bonus received during 2005. He calls it his ﬁrst
would you ﬂee on random breeze “leave cheque” since retirement.
that blinds your gaze to the future
spread your wings and stay the course Bill, from all of us at the Funds, we assure you that such positive feedback from
for a silver moon awaits us all pensioners make our jobs worthwhile.
look to nature and grow wise
how do we prerve this paradise Pensioners who wish to share their own memories with the Funds may write to The
poem by : Suzette Momberg (MPF staff member)
Editor, Informant, P.O. Box 61172, Marshalltown, 2107. Certain conditions and criteria
apply to the publication of such contributions.
P 4 0 1 2 2 3 0
Informant for Pensioners
MPF Management Services
PO Box 61172