Cosatu: Don’t resign over new tax Act

The federation says workers should rather prepare for mass strikes to have the new law repealed.

FILE: Cosatu says it has mad a call for the mobilisation of members against the new Act. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has called on South African workers not to resign over the new pension fund reforms, saying they should rather prepare for mass strikes and a battle to have the law repealed.

Cosatu has called on the State to repeal the new Tax Administration Amendment Act, which has synchronised how pension and provident funds are governed.

The federation's leaders are concluding a two-day meeting on the reforms, and what this means for its relationship with the African National Congress (ANC).

The laws prevent the withdrawal of all provident funds, but Cosatu says this is exactly why workers prefer the investment scheme.

Cosatu's Bheki Ntshalintshali has called on workers from across the political and racial divide to fight the new pension law.

"The federation has already issued a call to all affiliates to mobilise workers and their families; to come out and protect their savings and livelihoods. We are determined to wage and win this fight."

Ntshalintshali says they believe workers can win the fight through a strike, but fear what lies ahead.

"We believe that the National Treasury's intransigence signals that the worst is yet to come. We are going to see more war enacted to intervene in the workers' and individual rights."

The federation has also accused the national treasury of subverting consultation with trade unions and businesses at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac).

Both Cosatu and the Black Business Council are warning the adjustment of legislation governing provident funds, will rob black people of access to large sums of capital, and infringe on their rights.

Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini says treasury has taken control of workers deferred wages without consultation.

"It doesn't meet our expectations as the workers, he has signed a law where we are saying Nedlac has been undermined."

Black business council member Bridget Radebe says, historically, disadvantaged people have always relied on provident funds.

"There is no bank that is going to give them loans without collateral, and the only collateral we black people have ever had is the collateral of the provident fund. If that is taken from us, what next are we going to do to sustain our businesses?"

The business council has pledged to support Cosatu's campaign to have the law repealed and says proper consultation must take place.

LISTEN: What does the new legislation on retirement income entail?