End corruption before using workers' pensions for investment, Cosatu tells govt

Cosatu has once again dashed the government's hopes of leaning on workers’ retirement funds to invest in, among others, infrastructural development in the country.

Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Cosatu has once again dashed the government's hopes of leaning on workers’ retirement funds to invest in, among others, infrastructural development in the country.

At a briefing on Wednesday, the federation stood its ground, saying that such an alternative would only be considered when government put an end to corruption.

Government has been slowly moving on the African National Congress (ANC)’s 2019 manifesto, which sought to investigate the introduction of prescribed assets, while Treasury has formally stated that while prescribed assets would be introduced, retirement funds would not be forced to invest in failing state-owned enterprises.

Infrastructure projects are largely perceived to be good investment opportunities for pension funds, with some already investing in government bonds.

However, Cosatu has cautioned government about this proposal, which was first raised by the labour caucus at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac).

General secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali: "Pensions remain workers' preferred wages and should be invested in ways that benefit workers and should not be used to deal with government policy failures. If government wants to even consider it's ideas and proposal, we need to first seriously fight corruption."

Some economists have endorsed the idea that pension funds can be useful for the country’s failing economy.

Meanwhile, Cosatu also wants government to ensure that workers who are affected by COVID-19 can access their retirement savings as the unemployment insurance fund payments drag on.

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