Social Development minister Lindiwe Zulu has submitted the Older Persons Amendment Bill to parliament, introducing new age requirements and further protections for the country’s elderly.
Among the key changes is the proposal to reduce the definition of ‘older person’ to 60 years of age – opening the door to further regulatory protections for older South Africans at a younger age. Under the current regulations, a person is considered an ‘older person’ from the age of 65 as a man and from 60 as a woman.
The bill also offers additional rights and responsibilities for pensioners, including protection from physical and emotional abuse, from both family and caregivers.
A significant portion of the bill also strengthens regulations around caregivers at home and retirement villages to ensure that elderly people are properly taken care of.
The new bill comes as the National Treasury moves to introduce new pension fund regulations for South Africa.
The changes are aimed at ‘unlocking’ new investment in infrastructure by the private sector and form part of the process to amend Regulation 28 of the Pensions Fund Act to enable retirement funds to invest in infrastructure.
These amendments introduce more effective maximum limits for the trustees of retirement funds to invest for the long term, in various forms of infrastructure projects,” he said.
Treasury said that the proposed review of Regulation 28 is informed by calls for increased investment in infrastructure given the current low economic growth climate.
The amendments proposed that the overall investment in infrastructure across all asset categories may not exceed 45% regarding domestic exposure and an additional limit of 10% in respect of the rest of Africa.
Treasury has also expanded its definition of ‘infrastructure’, which was previously limited only to part of the national infrastructure plan, which excludes private sector infrastructure and infrastructure in the rest of Africa or abroad.
The revised definition is that infrastructure is ‘any asset class that entails physical assets constructed for the provision of social and economic utilities or benefit for the public’.