President Jacob Zuma had earlier this month signed the Tax Administration Amendment Bill, which will prevent the withdrawal of a provident fund lump sum payments from 1st March. But in reaction to this, South Africa’s biggest union has called on government to repeal immediately the tax amendment laws, describing the new legislation as the privatization of workers’ money.
The National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) have also accused the president of trying to use workers provident funds to help cover the shortfall of an inadequate social welfare system.
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Speaking through its general secretary, NUMSA said the president’s action “means that workers will be required to use their savings as grants, so that the State doesn’t have to pay them. It is a form of privatization, given that the retirement funds companies are overwhelmingly owned and ruled by financial capitalists.”
Stressing that NUMSA urged all workers to unite and defeat the law, Politicsweb cited that NUMSA among other things, is demanding:
- The legislation be repealed;
- That government quickly introduce an extensive social security system on which workers must be fully consulted before the proposal heads to Parliament;
- That the wage system that crushes millions of Black workers in employed poverty be abolished;
- That the government quickly introduce a national living wage;
- A national health insurance system must as well be created;
- The working class housing crisis must be resolved;
- And a legislation drafted to transform the ” trillion rand lily white and capitalist retirement industry in South Africa and placed under workers’ control.”
You’ll recall that a similar union, Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) had also condemned Zuma’s Action claiming its an inhumane act towards workers.
According to a member of the union, Sizwe Pamla “Cosatu strongly condemns the signing of this legislation into law by President Jacob Zuma. We feel like this was an act of provocation by government, especially considering the fact that it is a betrayal of the workers.”
However, EWN related that an Old Mutual corporate consultant Michelle Acton had said Zuma’s action was not a big shift as the benefits still fully belong to those individuals. “They don’t belong to anyone else. That structure is not changing. The only thing that has changed is how that benefit will be paid out when we get to retirement.”