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Johannesburg - Teachers should be allowed to access part of their retirement money to meet their financial needs, the National Teachers' Union (Natu) said on Friday.
“For teachers to be allowed to take part of their retirement money, they must show the department that the have an immediate and heavy financial need,” spokesman Allen Thompson said in a statement.
He said teachers' salaries did not allow them to meet their living costs.
“Some teachers have considered desperate measures, such as taking money out of their retirement plans before reaching retirement age by resigning.”
He said teachers should have to meet certain criteria before the money was paid out to avoid abuse of the system.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said in a reply to a parliamentary question on Thursday that 14,302 teachers left the department's employ in the 2012/13 financial year.
Of these 6 272 resigned, 1 859 died, 394 left because of ill health, 5 417 retired, and 360 were dismissed. In 2011/12 the figure was 14 988.