Notes: Do retirement funds have a right to transfer accrued retirement benefits without non-member spouses’ consent? An analysis of the Collatz matter
Author: Motseotsile Clement Marumoagae
Affiliations: Associate Professor, University of the Witwatersrand; Visiting Associate Professor, National University of Lesotho
Source: South African Law Journal, Volume 140 Issue 1, p. 17-37
Neither the legislature nor the courts have adequately determined how to regulate benefits that retirement fund members married in community of property derive a right to claim before their death. It illustrates the failure of the courts to assess the intersection between matrimonial principles and pension rules when faced with nonmember spouses who argue that their deceased member spouses’ retirement benefits accrued to their joint estates. The courts need to consider seriously the applicability of matrimonial principles before retirement benefits can be treated as death benefits. Further, the note demonstrates that the courts over-emphasise the role of pension rules and totally disregard matrimonial principles, thereby depriving surviving non-member spouses of their share of the accrued retirement benefits. This note further argues that the legislature should urgently intervene.