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Press Statement, 14 February 2016
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) National Women Structure supports the Congress of the South African Trade unions (COSATU) on its call to the Republic of the South African President Jacob Zuma to scrap the new tax Law amendment act which was enacted on the 24 December 2015 to be effective on the 1 March 2016. The Act does not only deprive workers the right to decide on where to invest, where to save and how to spend their hard earned monies.
The new Act imposes annuitisation claiming that workers will save on tax rebates without considering the conditions that are faced by workers that are indebted caused by some among many reasons maintaining a living standard. While poverty has declined since the end of apartheid, women remain more likely to be poor than men.
Additionally, poor women tend to live further below the poverty line than men, suggesting greater vulnerability. Rural or non-urban women are relatively worse-off than their urban counterparts. The tax law will lead to continued poverty.
South African women account for more than half of the national population; these changes will immediately have an effect on women specifically in the vulnerable industries such as construction and mining where workers work in the unstable and dangerous environment threatened by continued layoffs and deaths at workplaces.
We appeal to government to take cognizance of the following:
• Women are the breadwinners of most households in South Africa; the labor supply studies suggest that the elasticity of supply of labor for married women, often assumed to be the secondary earner, is greater than the elasticity for married men (Triest, 1990).
• Thus, women’s labour force participation in market-oriented economic activities constitutes only a fraction of the total work they perform. This, therefore, concludes that a wages or salaries of women take care of the entire community. The current tax law amendment act suggests annuitisation regardless of the stated challenges.
• Women’s contribution to the work that is done in a household remains less recognized and significantly undervalued even though it is essential for nutrition, health, education and the overall capabilities of a household, for all these women retirement is their ticket of hope to new beginnings.
• The only time when women get recognized for their work and their partner's support is when both retires that is the only time life becomes better and this new tax law amendment is taking away that leverage.
• The new Tax Law Amendment Act is contentious and complex, however, it is not clear on private savings implications specifically where there is external contract involves such as marriage.
• We would urge the government to take cognizance of the role that women play in our societies while building a correlation of the strong relationship between women education and economic growth in industrialization is crucial.
The NUM encourages workers to save however that should be in line with the requirement of an individual basic need. Although it is imperative for workers to save the process should not have adversarial consequences. We support the position mainly because women will be the most bearer of the consequential effect of the Act should it proceeds.
For more information, Please contactPhumeza Mgengo: NUM National Women's Structure Secretary: 072 265 4989
The National Union of Mineworkers 7 Rissik Street. Cnr Frederick Johannesburg Tel: 011 377 2111 Cell: 083 809 3257 Web: www.num.org.za<http://www.num.org.za> Twitter: @Num_Media Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/NUM/100860023402167