File image: Siri Hardeland

Rustenburg - Women will be the most severely affected by a new tax law should it proceed, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) National Women Structure said on Monday.

The Tax Administration Amendment Act was signed into law on December 24.

“The Act does not only deprive workers the right to decide on where to invest, where to save and how to spend their hard earned monies. The new Act imposes annuitisation, claiming that workers will save on tax rebates without considering the conditions that are faced by workers that are indebted caused by some among many reasons maintaining a living standard,” said NUM Women Structure secretary Phumeza Mgengo.

She said the NUM Women Structure supported a call by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) to President Jacob Zuma to scrap the amendments as it would lead to continued poverty for women.

She said while poverty has declined since the end of apartheid, women remain more likely to be poor than men.

“Additionally, poor women tend to live further below the poverty line than men, suggesting greater vulnerability. Rural or non-urban women are relatively worse-off than their urban counterparts.”

The new law, which comes into effect on March 1 this year, seeks to force workers to preserve their retirement savings, instead of withdrawing and spending it.