An annual list of South Africans who can collectively claim millions of rands from a government account was just published. Here’s how to check it, and claim

Business Insider SA
  • The annual list of beneficiaries with money waiting for them in the Guardian's Fund was published on Friday.
  • Nearly 1,700 people have at least R1,000 due to them – and in some cases much more than that.
  • Checking if you are on the list is easy, and claiming your money isn't much harder.
  • For more stories go to the Business Insider South Africa homepage.

An annual list of some 1,700 South African individuals and companies who are, between them, owed millions of rands from a special government account was published on Friday.

Those people now have up to 30 years to claim their cash, which comes to a minimum of at least R1,000 but could run to much, much more.

The document is technically known as the list of unclaimed funds in terms of section 91 of the Estates Act, and is published every September. It contains details of beneficiaries who have money lodged with the Guardian's Fund, a special vehicle that safeguards money in specific circumstances, such as when someone who is due an inheritance can not be found.

See also: More than R17 billion remains unclaimed in forgotten unit trusts and policies – here’s how to find out if you are owed money

The list includes every claim worth at least R1,000.

Only money that has been available to be claimed since at least the end of July 2018, but that date from after July 2015, is included.

Even so the list is long, running to some 400 pages. 

Here's how to check if any of the money in the Guardian's Fund belongs to you – and how to claim it.

Download the list and search for your surname.

The list of accounts is in Government Gazette 42727. You can download the PDF of the whole publication directly from the Government Printing Works by clicking here – but be warned that it runs to more than 400 pages, and the file size is more than 20MB.

First search for your identity number. Where available, ID numbers are listed for beneficiaries, and that is usually the easiest way to find someone. Sometimes dates of birth are used where ID numbers are not available, in the format DD MON YEAR, or 27 SEP 2019. Those are also worth searching first.

If your ID number and date of birth doesn't show up, do not despair just yet. Many entries have only names, no ID numbers of birthdates for beneficiaries. If your surname is fairly common, put quotation marks around your full name as a search term; any half-decent PDF reader will correctly interpret that as a search for the whole phrase. Also try just your surname followed by a comma and your first initial as well as your first initial followed by your surname; not all beneficiaries are listed by their full names, and both those formats are used in the document.

If your company may be owed money, search for its name too. The list includes money due to business creditors from insolvent companies.

Found your name? Here's how to claim.

Claims form

The listing includes no details of how much money you are owed, or detailson how to claim your cash. But the Department of Justice has all the details and forms on its website.

For most claims you will need your South African ID book, and depending on the nature of the claim you may also require a “Certificate of Identity” signed by the executor of an estate, or co-signed by two other people who received inheritances.

Claims by people who have changed their names, or who live outside South Africa, are slightly more complicated, and may require all kinds of extra paperwork.

Once you have the paperwork collected, contact the right Master's Office. The beneficiaries' list in the Government Gazette fall under different offices of the Master. You may have to scroll up a bit to figure out under which office your claim falls. Once you know, you can find the contact details for those offices here.

Watch out for unscrupulous "agents" offering to help.

Anywhere there is a big pile of money waiting to be claimed, there are vultures. For complicated claims an attorney or administrator may be a good idea – but you can use any attorney of your choice.

If somebody contacts you offering to handle your claim you are under no obligation to accept, and by law you may not sign over a percentage of your claim to them. Any payment must be made to you directly, and you can decide how much to pay anyone who helps you in the process. 

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