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Allan Gray accused of gay discrimination

Mar 20 2013 08:24 Sapa

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Johannesburg - The Allan Gray Retirement Annuity Fund has ignored a court order to transfer money from the pension fund of one of its clients to his homosexual former partner, a law firm claimed on Tuesday.

Jurgens Bekker Attorneys, which represented Terry Van der Walt, said the High Court in Johannesburg made an order on December 18 that R120 000 be paid to his former partner from his pension fund after their relationship ended.

"The fund is discriminating against our client on the basis of his sexual orientation. Such discrimination is unlawful and infringes upon our client's rights to equality," attorney Carien van Greunen said.

"The fund's refusal to make payment in terms of the court order is based on the fund being of the opinion that a decree of divorce must be granted, and that the order given by the court does not constitute a divorce order (as between husband and wife)."

Allan Gray chief operating officer Rob Dower said the company would like to help Van der Walt and his former partner, but the law governing retirement funds did not allow it to do so.

"We acknowledge that there is a court order, but it is not an order in terms of the Divorce Act, as is explicitly required by the Pension Funds Act," he said.

"The sexual orientation of the couple is not relevant; a heterosexual couple, living together, would encounter the same problem if their relationship were to break up.

"This situation is not the making of Allan Gray or the Allan Gray Pension Preservation Fund, it is the consequence of the law."

Van Greunen said the fund was in contempt of court and the legal firm would move forward with an application to compel the fund to make the payment.

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allan gray  |  discrimination
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