Newzroom Afrika: Social Development backtracks on Green Paper

Newzroom Afrika: Social Development backtracks on Green Paper

Newzroom Afrika: Social Development backtracks on Green Paper

Following the withdrawal of the Green Paper, the director of the Studies of Poverty and Inequality Institute (SPII) Isobel Frye, is joined by the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) General Secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi to discuss the controversy circling the matter.


Frye makes mention that when you fail to persuade the opposing side, that it is not good faith to put your version on top of the agreed upon conclusion. She also adds on that what is not won in negotiations, cannot be added at the 11th hour as we have seen with the withdrawal.


“The action of the Minister of Social Development leaves me confused,” Isobel highlights, explaining that we wanted different views, but now the department of Social Development are soliciting the responses.


There is failure of the Cabinet to not support Minister Zulu in her decisions, one would want to have the opportunity to have different views brought in. This is an excellent chance to address the concerns of the people. Many people don’t know that the 12% will replace future provident funds/pension, not be added on top.


The Department has an opportunity to clarify the confusion, where most of us are sitting outside of the formal pension fund scheme in our working roles, it is important for us to recognise the withdrawal can be also be dealing with the Basic Income Grant.


The process must be questioned, Frye encourages the Department to reintroduce the Green Paper, with the understanding that it will lead to a White Paper, and then to drafting the Bill, then finally be introduced to Parliament.


Zwelinzima Vavi sits on the side that the Green Paper was placed on the table for discussion, it is not a government White Paper or Draft Legislation. “We are angry and disgusted that the Green Paper was talking about the interest of the poor, and was withdrawn without engagement.” He firmly added.


“The levels of poverty needs to be addressed, 2/3 of our people live below the poverty line.” Vavi outlines, this means that minimum wage is “pathetically” low. A comprehensive Social Security system would suggest that we find a way to address poverty by means of a Basic Income Grant. “Every worker deserves to have a retirement fund, to cushion them when they are no longer able to take care themselves properly,” the General Secretary touched on.


“Low paying jobs do not provide sufficient support for pension,”, “The interest of the rich only matters,” and “Minister seems to be acting without the support of her Cabinet.” are all valid and concerning points.


Frye broaches that there is a huge amount of interest in this debate, that there will be a strong push back from the private sector. We are in need a comprehensive Social Security System now more than ever.


We will also need to indicate that ordinary people need to know that this fund for the betterment of the people, and a better retirement plan. We need the nation to understand that the middle class and working class have a future to look forward to with this fund.


We need to support the minister, the national consensus wants to hear this.


Source: Newzroom Afrika