The Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), South Africa's largest pension fund, this week opened a new office in Cape Town, the first of a regional roll-out around the country.
Speaking at the opening of the office at the Thibault Square this week, GEPF Chief Executive, Phenias Tjie said the new offices are part of a comprehensive strategy to improve service delivery to members and pensioners in all provinces.
The first beneficiary provinces are Western Cape, Mpumalanga, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal. These will add to the existing regional offices in North West, Eastern Cape and Limpopo.
"Gauteng is currently being serviced from the Pretoria office while the Northern Cape office is at the planning stage," said Mr Tjie, adding that this will indeed bring service closer to the people.
GEPF is the 6th largest pension fund in the world. It has approximately 1.6 million contributing members, 308 000 pension recipients and more than R707 billion in assets under management.
Mr Tjie said the fund had an important role to play in the national context.
"Our focus this year is on pursuing the GEPF's mandate of providing pensions and related benefits to members and beneficiaries in an efficient, effective and responsible manner."
He said a number of factors within the pension administration sector had had an effect on the business of the GEPF.
"Important among these has been the increased competition posed by private sector administrators to staffing and member management. It had become evident that for the GEPF to remain competitive, we needed to align the fund's operations with private sector practices," he said.
The primary focus of the GEPF remains the improvement of service delivery to members and pensioners.
Mr Tjie said the GEPF would be expanding its service reach into every province in South Africa, adding that offices in Nelspruit, Bloemfontein and Pietermaritzburg will be opened before the end of the year.
"We are providing a client-centric service experience to improve turn-around times for our members. We are currently reviewing our IT infrastructure and our employee benefit software in order to significantly enhance the whole experience for our membership."
At the new Cape Town branch, GEPF members and their representatives will be able to submit queries, exit application forms and obtain information about contributions, benefits and related issues.
In the Western Cape GEPF has approximately 660 000 members and 35 000 pensioners and beneficiaries. - BuaNews