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Comprehensive social security and retirement reform proposal withdrawn – but that’s not the end of it

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Cape Town – The announcement of the withdrawal of the green paper on comprehensive social security and retirement reform does not mean it’s the end of the proposed fund.

On Wednesday, the Department of Social Development confirmed that since the proposal was gazetted on August 18, there has been widespread commentary on the key recommendations entailed in the green paper.

Implementation of the green paper would mean that all South Africans earning above a certain income level would have to pay between 8% and 12% of their salaries into the funds. The fund would be used to pay social and pension grants to citizens.

The paper reads: “The present social security system in South Africa falls short of its Constitutional requirements. The proposed reforms will be implemented over the short- to long-term period. There is a need to prioritise poverty interventions, focus on efficiency and equity challenges in the system and leverage on the electronic application system.”

Closing dates for public comments would have been December 10.

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Spokesperson for the department Lumka Oliphant said some of the areas needed clarification.

“Some of the technical aspects of the proposals were not well understood and many have misrepresented the proposals, particularly on the National Social Security Fund. It has become apparent that some of these areas need further clarification to avoid any further confusion.”

Oliphant said the department was pleased by the level of public discourse on the subject, as it reinforced the fact that society should be involved in the policy-making space.

The department would release the paper as soon as the issues had been addressed, she said.

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Political Bureau