The National Treasury and the Department of Employment and Labour say they are making inputs and comments on the Social Development Department’s green paper on comprehensive social security and retirement reforms.
This was according to Minister of Finance Enoch Godongwana and Department of Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi when they were responding to questions from DA MP Alexandra Abrahams.
Abrahams said the fourth quarter report for the 2022-23 financial year of the Department of Social Development indicated that the National Treasury and the Department of Employment and Labour still needed to provide comments and inputs before Cabinet was requested to approve the re-gazetting of the green paper for public comments.
She asked Nxesi and Godongwana to detail reasons why their departments have not provided comments and input on the presentation, as it appeared to delay the development of the green paper.
Abrahams also enquired about the date the departments envisaged to provide their comments and input on the green paper as well as the departments’ position on the green paper and the National Social Security Fund within the green paper.
In his response, Godongwana said the National Treasury has been part of the process to develop the policy paper on the comprehensive social security and retirement reform from its inception in 2007 and throughout the NEDLAC process, where it was tabled for discussion in 2016.
“The issues are complex, including the fiscal implications, and the National Treasury continues to engage with the Department of Social Development,” he said.
Godongwana also said the process was not merely one of submitting comments, as the fiscal framework was the responsibility of the National Treasury.
“The policy framework involves fiscal, economic and expenditure trade-offs and requires the concurrence of all three departments.
“Ultimately, the policy paper will reflect the Government’s position and not that of any one department and will be made public as soon as governmental processes have been completed and approved by the Cabinet,” he said.
Nxesi said his department had provided comments prior to a workshop held in April.
He also said after attending the April workshop, his department, through the Compensation Fund, identified fundamental issues that needed to be resolved before providing additional comments.
“In the recent document provided by the Department of Social Development for comments, it is apparent that the social security provided by the Compensation Fund is not fully understood. For example, the contributions are not paid from employees and are from employers with a risk-based classification model.
“We, therefore, await further discussions because the paper does not fully cover the plight of injured workers considering the Compensation Fund is mandated to cover medical costs and ensure injured workers return to work.
“There may be further comments that the department may wish to make. However, we recommend that DSD hold another discussion where the fundamental issues that were raised at the April session are addressed.”
Nxesi also said his department acknowledged the support for the green paper and National Security Fund.