Informant Pensionars.indd

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ISSUE 1, 2006

 for pensioners

                                                              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.
                new image…
                                  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-
                                                                                                                 We ne

                                  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.
                 Kamdebo to
                                  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
                                                                                                                      successfully updated.
    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
                                                       Karibuni Lapa
                  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
         26 Jul
         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
                                                      Summerstrand Inn
         27 Jul   Port Elizabeth                                                             (041) 583 3131        Liezel
                                                 Marine Drive, Summerstrand
                  Springs                                   CivicHall                        (011) 360 2000        Lienkie
                                                        Majuba Lodge,
                  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
                                                     St Michaels-on-Sea
                  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:

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 the chasms contain your srs
      cherished srs 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 prerve 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.

         Return Address:
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