Radebe confident provident funds amendment will be processed in time
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has rejected Cabinet’s decision to postpone the implementation of the compulsory annuitisation of provident fund savings for two years as not going far enough‚ insisting that the measure be dumped completely.
Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe announced at a post-Cabinet media briefing on Thursday that an amendment to the Taxation Laws Amendment Act will be tabled in Parliament in the next few days to effect the Cabinet decision to postpone until March 1 2018 the implementation of the provision requiring the compulsory annuitisation of provident fund savings.
The provision requiring the compulsory annuitisation of two-thirds of provident fund savings on retirement would have replaced the current dispensation‚ which allows workers to take the full amount as a cash lump sum. It was due to take effect from March 1. Cosatu has planned a national socio-economic strike to coincide with this date.
But Cosatu said in a statement that the postponement was not "yet a victory for the workers but it is the first step towards a final victory‚ which will be the total scrapping of those aspects of the law that workers do not want.
The mandate from workers was not to secure a postponement but to get government to commit (to expunging) .... all the areas that prevent workers from accessing their money. There can be no annuitisation and preservation without workers’ consent.
"We will continue to intensify our mobilisation until we get a clear resolution on this matter. The campaign that was launched earlier this month and the strike planned for the beginning of March will continue‚ until the identified aspects of the law are scrapped‚" Cosatu spokesman Sizwe Pamla said.
Cosatu insisted that it would not negotiate any "piecemeal" retirement reforms in the absence of a comprehensive social security and retirement reform paper.
Radebe confirmed that the government had received notices from Cosatu‚ the National Union of Metalworkers of SA and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union under section 77 of the Labour Relations Act for a strike against the compulsory annuitisation law.
Radebe said in response to questions that the government’s about-turn on the matter did not mean the labour federation had to rubber-stamp all the laws adopted by Cabinet.
Both the National Union of Metalworkers of SA and Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union have sought notice to strike over the law‚ but could not immediately be reached for comment.