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JOBURG – The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) general secretary Irvin Jim joined the public outcry and called on government to repeal the tax amendment laws signed by President Jacob Zuma recently.
Disconcert and annoyance set in among workers after Zuma signed the new tax laws such as the 2015 Tax Laws Amendment Act and the Tax Administration Laws Amendment Act into force. They include a limit on how much can be withdrawn when a worker resigns or is retrenched as part of an effort to force workers to save for their retirement and not withdraw savings for other reasons.
And if all this was not bad enough, Jim said the South African capitalists, who daily rob workers of the fruits of their labour, have convinced the African National Congress (ANC) government to let them carry on robbing workers even after they stop working by stealing from the small amount of their pitiful wages which workers have saved for their future.
“The government has signed into legislation new tax amendment laws, which will prevent workers from taking most of their provident fund contributions when they retire. Instead, they must take the majority of it as a monthly amount, for as long as they may live,” he said.
“We at Numsa, state that without abolishing the apartheid economy and society, no meaningful provident or pension fund system can be established in post apartheid South Africa. South African capitalism feasts on the poverty, unemployment and low wages, and extreme inequalities afflicting the black working class,” Jim said.
He urged all workers to unite to defeat this law and demand that this legislation be repealed immediately. Jim also called on government to urgently introduce a comprehensive social security system on which workers must be fully consulted before any proposal goes before Parliament.
“Legislation must be made to radically transform the trillion rand lily white and capitalist retirement industry in South Africa and place it under workers’ control. This is workers’ own money, part of their wages,” Jim said.
Currently, workers have a choice, they can take all their retirement money as a lump sum or they could use it to buy a pension. From 1 March on, they will be forced to receive the majority of it as a pension, through what is called ‘annuitisation’.
From 1 March this year onwards, the law will apply to all workers, apart from those over 55. Jim said, “This is an attack on workers’ basic rights, in particular on young workers, who will be most affected as they have their whole working life ahead of them, so all their savings will be affected. What makes it even worse is that these laws have been pushed through without agreement having been reached at Nedlac [National Economic Development & Labour Council].” At Nedlac, government comes together with organised business, organised labour and organised community groups on a national level to discuss and try to reach consensus on issues of social and economic policy.
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