IN AUGUST, Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu published a Green Paper on comprehensive social security and retirement reform for public comment. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng African News Agency (ANA)
IN AUGUST, Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu published a Green Paper on comprehensive social security and retirement reform for public comment. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng African News Agency (ANA)

Solidarity and AfriForum welcome withdrawal of Green Paper on social security

By Dieketseng Maleke Time of article published Sep 1, 2021

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THE Solidarity Movement has welcomed the withdrawal of the Green Paper for social security and reform which Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu was proposing.

In August, Zulu published a Green Paper on comprehensive social security and retirement reform for public comment.

In the paper, the government proposes a mandatory pension and insurance system that will see employers and employees paying up to 12 percent of their earnings into a state-run National Social Security Fund.

The paper said about 6.2 million formal sector workers, primarily low-income earners, informal workers, and informal sector workers would be excluded from such arrangements.

There was widespread commentary and criticism of the Green Paper in the country as some viewed that taxpayers were already overburdened.

In a statement, Solidarity chief executive officer Dirk Hermann said the withdrawal of the paper was a victory for taxpayers.

“The Green Paper was in its core absurd, irrational, unworkable and unconstitutional,” he said.

The movement vowed to continue its legal action should the Green Paper come to life in another form in the future.

According to the movement, it proceeded with legal action against Zulu last week and gave 30 days for the Green Paper to be withdrawn. It said its legal letter pointed out that the correct process had not been followed.

“However, it is not only the process that was wrong. The Green Paper is rotten at its core. It is impossible to take more tax money from taxpayers. It is worrying that such an irrational Green Paper was published as part of the legislative process. It creates uncertainty about policy amongst ordinary workers, businesses and investors,” said Hermann.

Meanwhile, AfriForum reiterated the Solidarity movement’s sentiments about the withdrawal.

AfriForum yesterday described the withdrawal as an important first victory for its tax protest campaign, which was launched on Tuesday.

According to Johan Kruger, head of community development at AfriForum, more momentum must now be gained to bring about tax reform in South Africa.

“We are pleased that other organisations and the broader public added their voices to our tax protest campaign. A united front against tax abuse and continued pressure for change will eventually compel the ANC to negotiate with AfriForum over its demands,” Kruger said.

Yesterday, the Department of Social Development said the announcement of the Green Paper’s withdrawal did not mean the end of the proposed fund.

Social Department spokesperson Lumka Oliphant said some of the areas in the paper 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.”

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE

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