By Thoboloko Ntšonyane 

MASERU- The Public Officers’ Defined Contribution Pension Fund (The Fund) has announced the inaugural Annual Member Engagement Forum (AMEF).

The forum has been slated for November 3.

In an interview with the Fund’s Communications Officer Matshona Libalele Mlungwana said this year’s installment marks the annual engagement fora going forward where they will continually educate members about the organization’s mandate and the governance structure. 

He added, “This is the employer-employee relationship “.

This he said so that their members stay informed and engaged on matters related to the Fund.

“Every member needs to know what happens in the Fund as the law requires. Fostering engagement is important to enhancing the Fund’s effectiveness and minimizing misunderstanding [with the members],” he said adding that this will also lessen litigation.

The performance of the Fund is also one of the issues that are expected to receive the spotlight during the forum. 

Mlungwana said the members will have at least two representatives and those are drawn from different stakeholders.

He said there are over 36 000 members and a member contributes 5 percent and the government also contributes 5 percent. The public officers from Public service, Teaching service, Local Government service, and Disciplined Services (Security Sector) are the members of the Fund.

He said the forum will be in a hybrid format where members will also follow the proceedings through online platforms as well as the state radio. 

According to the Fund, this initiative further aims to promote transparency and accountability to the Fund’s membership, beginning with the current Financial Year 2023/2024.

“It also aims to communicate the vision and goals for the Fund’s future, while sharing its performance for the year under review. Additionally, the forum provides an avenue to outline the Fund’s upcoming endeavors and initiatives, and establish a platform for Member input and feedback on its operations and services.”

Amongst the key speakers he said will be the Minister of Finance and Development Planning Dr Retšelisitsoe Matlanyane and the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Employment Hon Richard Ramoeletsi.

Established under The Public Officers’ Defined Contribution  Pension Fund Act of 2008. It is managed by a Board of Trustees that is appointed by The Minister responsible for  Finance in consultation with the Minister of Public Service as per the provisions of section 6(2) of the Act.

It was borne as a result of the Government’s decision to change from a Defined Benefit to a Defined Contribution.

Mlungwana said the Fund’s turnaround paying time to members is two months save for the discrepancies. 

As of April 2024, he said they will start paying the first cohort of civil servants who will be going to a mandatory pension.

The Fund boasts a robust portfolio with just over M10 billion in assets spanning various initiatives including owning state-of-the-art buildings, ventures in the cannabis industry, and fisheries, and it also has shares in both Maseru Mall and Pioneer Mall.