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File Image: IOL

OPINION: Pensioners are in deep trouble, Mr Ramaphosa

By Mrs T. Muthen Time of article published Jun 14, 2019

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Dear President Cyril Ramaphosa,

I write to you in desperation as I have just turned 60 and need to retire, only to realise that all my hopes, dreams and hard work over the years have been shattered.

Trying to secure retirement-type safe living accommodation is so expensive, and the current R500000 tax-free portion from our pension funds is not feasible or logical in today’s time.

It is also not enough if one looks at other expenses, such as if one needs to buy a car - something roadworthy and reliable for pensioners, which is necessary in today’s times with the high crime rate where pensioners are a soft target.

Consideration must also be given to our monthly expenses towards rates, levies, water, electricity, food and other living expenses. And, most importantly, not forgetting to invest in a medical insurance, which we will need the most at this crucial time in our lives.

Additionally, the current old-age government pension amount is ridiculously low, and it would seem that we would have to look at options to make money, as nobody will employ us after the age of 60, unlike presidents.

I don’t think that this is fair to us normal working-class citizens, who have worked so hard, to live on the low government grant. Rather, I think this is a very sad situation where we now have to find work or a solution for extra income to sustain ourselves before we exit this planet. All our hard work and contributions over the years will not benefit us in any way at this critical time when we need it the most.

I am pleading that the R500000 tax-free portion be increased to a more realistic figure to at least R1million or R1.5m where we can retire with dignity without any stress and anxiety of creating new debt.

The R500000 has been in operation for such a long time. Perhaps it would have worked 20 years ago, but it is really not feasible in today’s times. Increasing it will give us an option or an opportunity to decide on a reasonable amount available at the time - obviously be guided by a financial planner. After all, it is our hard-earned money.

I therefore plead with you, Mr President, that you will find it in your generous heart to at least consider increasing the R500000 tax-free pensionable portion and, if possible, the current government pension amount.

Yours sincerely, a loyal taxpayer

Mrs T Muthen


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