The ANC wants easier access to pensions and only one set of elections in South Africa

The ANC has made public a number of outcomes from a virtual sitting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) between the 27-28 June 2020, including a proposed income grant for the country’s unemployed.

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule said that the NEC met virtually to discuss a range of issues including the party’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, access to pensions and the sale of alcohol.

“The pandemic has once again exposed the persistent fault lines of poverty, inequality and unemployment in our society.

“As a nation, we must seize the opportunity collectively to fight both this public health pandemic, but also to embark on a programme of socio-economic reconstruction, solidarity and common prosperity,” he said.

“The NEC, therefore, considered a draft Covid-19 Reconstruction, Growth and Development plan from the economic transformation committee which will be finalised and released for public comments and inputs.”


Basic income grant

Magashule said that the party’s social and economic transformation committees will meet to look at the feasibility of a basic income grant, including its costing and financing.

He noted that while government introduced specific measures to help South Africans during the coronavirus pandemic, the country still needed further support structures.

“Although these measures made a difference, given the devastating economic impact expected as the pandemic unfolds, we must look at additional measures to broaden the social safety net and provide for the dignity of all South Africans,” Magashule said.

According to a document seen by Bloomberg, the ANC proposes paying a R500 monthly grant to those aged 19 to 59 who aren’t normally eligible for other aid would cost the state R197.8 billion a year.

Between 50% and 60% of the money could be recouped by levying extra taxes on those with jobs, it said.

The government normally makes welfare payments to pensioners, the disabled and impoverished children – a total of 18.3 million people.


Pensions 

Magashule said that changes should be made to regulation 28 of the Pensions Funds Act to enable ‘cheaper access’ to finance for development.

“While working to restore fiscal stability, SA needs to deploy macroeconomic policy instruments compatible with economic reconstruction. Reconstruction programmes must be sufficiently financed and financially sustainable,” he said.

“The mobilisation of funds for increased investment in infrastructure and key productive sectors, will inevitably require a combination of public and private resources.”


Elections

The NEC said it will support a push towards a synchronised national, provincial and local elections to enable better coordination and implementation of policies across spheres of government.

It also noted the recent Constitutional court judgement which found that South Africa’s current electoral legislation should be changed to all adult citizens to be elected to the National and Provincial Legislatures as independent candidates.

Magashule said that the ANC was committed to ensuring that legislation was aligned with this judgement within the next 24 months.


Alcohol ban 

Magashule said that South African society has a problem with alcohol abuse, with average alcohol consumption per adult considerably higher than the rest of the world.

This not only led to more deaths but also societal destruction, he said.

“Although the reversal of the alcohol ban is not on the agenda, we do have to as  a society look into this matter as part of a reader programme to reconstruct our communities and strengthen our families,” he said.


Harsher punishments 

Magashule said that the ANC will push for harsher punishments for criminals found guilty of committing gender-based violence.

This will include a review of bail conditions, sentencing and the enforcement of restraining orders, he said.

He added that the party will push for the training of police officers, magistrates and other personnel on gender-based violence to avoid the ‘second victimisation’ of women, children and others reporting abuse.


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The ANC wants easier access to pensions and only one set of elections in South Africa