Old Mutual faces a public fire-storm for allegedly defying a court order to pay out a mom’s pension

An Old Mutual branch in Pretoria. Picture: Sihle Mlambo/IOL

An Old Mutual branch in Pretoria. Picture: Sihle Mlambo/IOL

Published Mar 11, 2024


Insurance and financial institution Old Mutual has been facing a public relations nightmare after a user’s post on social media sparked outrage over the company allegedly defying a court order.

The disgruntled social media user named Sebabatso Molefi went viral on March 5 when she wrote on X. “Dear @OldMutualSA please advise why you are refusing to release my mother’s money even though a court order has been provided. You are in contempt of court and I am about to lose my cool right now.”

Molefi accused Old Mutual of giving her mother the run-around in paying out her pension.

The post was reshared 2800 times and has been viewed over 1.3 million times.

The post caused a social media fire-storm and led to a number X users coming forward and complaining about Old Mutual and how their claims had allegedly been denied for frivolous reasons.

Old Mutual initially responded to Molefi and said that it was investigating the issue and it would take three business days.

The initial response to Molefe. Picture: Molefi’s X account

Molefi said she was disgusted by Old Mutual’s response and wrote on X, “their response is even more disgusting. The people they are saying will investigate and provide feedback were already in copy of all communication and I have sent them screenshots. Now we must wait another 3 days, not even for the money but for their feedback”.

After a barrage of emails back and forth between Molefi and Old Mutual that was shared on Molefi’s X account, the company finally released a statement on X.

Old Mutual said it was a sensitive matter and involved the financial affairs of two individuals. The company did not want to engage in the matter publicly and said they would meet to sort out the issue with Molefi.

Molefi posted on X that a meeting would take place with a number of Old Mutual heavyweights.

She wrote on X, “below from Old Mutual. Stakeholders will also be attending the meeting”.

Picture: Molefi’s X account

At this stage, the back and forth on X by Molefi and the support she garnered from other users was prolific. She called on users to share their stories and post receipts.

X users obliged and continued to share their stories of how Old Mutual apparently denied their claims. It was abundantly clear that these users were going through some traumatic moments (for example the death of a loved one) and were allegedly denied their claims for seemingly frivolous reasons by the insurer.

On Monday, Old Mutual told The Citizen it was “committed to finding a solution, and we would like to apologise for the way we have managed the outcry on social media”.

“Our reluctance to engage and debate on X stems from the complexities of the case and our desire and duty to protect the personal information of the individuals concerned,” Old Mutual said.

“We need to ensure that our compliance with the court order is consistent with our obligation to comply with the pension funds law and tax law. Our intention is to ensure the parties are paid. We are investigating ways to solve the problem and will be meeting with the family this week,” the insurer said.

The meeting is set for March 12.

IOL NEWS has reached out to Molefi, she noted on X that she would not be speaking to the media until her meeting with Old Mutual was completed.

This is a developing story.