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Govt will not nationalise pension funds, says Manuel

by Bathandwa Mbola
on 29 Jun 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

Finance Minister Trevor Manuel has confirmed that South Africa's workforce need not cash in their provident fund savings out of fear that government will nationalise the funds.

This follows service providers warning clients to cash in their savings claiming that government was threatening to seize them.

"Since the announcement of the reform of retirement funds in the national budget in February, service providers have told people that government is going to nationalise pensions and is going to take away your savings, so you will only get the statutory state old age pension when you retire," Mr Manuel told reporters on Friday.

"It would be reckless, impossible and unconstitutional that any one of us would agree with the confiscation of the savings of working people," he said.

Mr Manuel said he had heard that workers were withdrawing their savings, and that some were going so far as to resign from their jobs in order to cash in their pensions.

He was accompanied by Social Development Minister Zola Skweyiya and trade union leaders.

Minister Skweyiya said he was concerned that these withdrawals would impact on the workers themselves and their families as they approach retirement, and that it would impact on the country, as savings levels are already too low.

"Government and trade unions share a commitment to improve the living standards of our people and we want to collaborate in working towards this objective.

"Part of this commitment is to ensure that all workers are able to live a better life when they retire than live in dire poverty in old age."

Mr Skweyiya called on all shop stewards and trustees of pension and provident funds to report these "unscrupulous individuals and service providers" to trade union offices, government and regulatory agencies.

The minister said he and the trade unions would embark on road shows to visit every factory floor in the country, and ensure that shop stewards were briefed to prevent individuals mobilising workers against their own interest. - BuaNews

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