Cosatu wants civil servants to have access to their pension funds while still employed

President of Cosatu Zingiswa Losi. Picture: Courtney Africa

President of Cosatu Zingiswa Losi. Picture: Courtney Africa

Published Nov 8, 2023


President of Cosatu Zingiswa Losi says the trade union is slowly winning the battle to realise their fight for the two-pot retirement system as a reality for overburdened civil servants.

Early this year, Cosatu said it welcomed the draft legislation into the two-pot retirement system but intended to lobby the government to increase the proposed withdrawal threshold of R25 000.

“We have been working on amending our pension laws to allow financially struggling workers access to their pension funds without having to resign from their jobs or to retire. I am glad to inform you that we have made progress. We are talking about the two-pot retirement system. What we are saying now is that we need to increase the amount due to the workers. We are saying the amount must be moved from R30 000 to R60 000,” she said.

Losi was speaking to more than 1 000 Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) members gathered at the Durban ICC on Monday during the first day of the week-long Popcru elective conference.

Delegates are expected to vote for the new leaders of the union, which turned 34 on Sunday.

Losi said civil servants and South Africans in general were overburdened by the rising cost of living, adding that sometimes workers were forced to take up loans from loan sharks.

“We must ensure that this law comes into effect by March 2024. Our workers can no longer afford even the basic living costs. Workers are drowning in debt. They are forced to borrow money from loan sharks. Some of them have even become loan sharks themselves. Sometimes we cannot afford to pay back the people we have taken money from,” she said.

Last year, Cosatu and other labour movements criticised the extension of the retirement fund reforms which only allowed fund contributors to wait until March 2024 to withdraw a third of their retirement fund contributions.

The National Treasury has published the draft legislation for the two-pot retirement system for public comment.

According to the Treasury, the system will allow South Africans civil servants to access one-third of their retirement savings throughout their working life, with the remaining two-thirds only accessible on retirement.

At the moment, members of retirement funds will be able to withdraw a maximum of 10% or a maximum of R25 000 from their retirement fund.

This amount will be taxed according to your income and tax marginal rate.

The Star

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