NAPTOSA's Response to the 2016 Budget Speech by the Minister of Finance Mr Pravin Gordhan on 24 February 2016
The President of the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA), Dr Anthea Cereseto, commenting on Minister Gordhan’s speech, said that NAPTOSA welcomed the 2016 budget as it gives hope to the nation during this difficult economic time. NAPTOSA applauds the approach of government not to spend money it does not have, nor borrow beyond its ability to repay. Dr Cereseto said that NAPTOSA supports government’s call on society to manage finances in a prudent and sustainable way.
The Minister called for “good governance of institutions” and a “public ethic that values honesty and fairness”. Dr Cereseto said NAPTOSA endorses these principles and calls on all to be mindful of corruption and wasteful expenditure. NAPTOSA, however, would have liked the Minister to elaborate on how corruption and wasteful expenditure would be dealt with in light of the Auditor General’s report that indicated that R25.7 billion was irregularly spent in the 2014/2015 financial year.
NAPTOSA has on more than one occasion assured members that the pension reforms announced by government, and which have created major unhappiness among workers, do NOT affect the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) or members of the Fund.
Both the GEPF and the National Treasury, the latter in conjunction with the DPSA, have issued official statements to reassure public servants in this regard. See the following links."
A huge uproar is currently being made of the fact that the President has signed the Tax Administration Laws Amendment Act and Taxation Laws Amendment Act of 2015, pertaining to certain pension reforms, into law.
These reforms take effect on 1 March 2016. Members are yet again reminded that the reforms only affect PROVIDENT FUNDS. The Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) is NOT a provident fund, but a pension fund. Members of the GEPF will therefore NOT be affected by these pension reforms. In other words the pension rules that currently apply to educators remain as they are. Gratuities will still be paid to those educators who retire and qualify for such gratuities in terms of the GEPF Rules. The taxation law coming into effect on March 2016 will align and extend the current dispensation to provident funds, and hence will not change the rules of GEPF in anyway. The GEPF is a defined – benefit fund, where Government, as the employer, guarantees all benefits to all members, irrespective of what happens to the funds invested by the GEPF. Members are therefore urged to ignore the rumour that is spreading that there will be no lump sum benefits payable from GEPF.
EMBARGOED UNTIL AFTER THE ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE MINISTER
Dr Anthea Cereseto, the incoming President of the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA), commenting on the results of the 2015 National Senior Certificate (NSC) commended the Department of Basic Education (DBE) on its management of the NSC examination involving approximately 800 000 candidates. The decrease in the overall pass rate from 75.8% in 2014 to 70.7% in 2015, while disconcerting, does demonstrate the commitment of the DBE to implement the higher cognitive demands of the CAPS curriculum, said Dr Anthea Cereseto.
However, NAPTOSA’s congratulations are muted amidst the continued dishonesty and ongoing cheating in the 2015 NSC examination, said Dr Cereseto. NAPTOSA calls on the DBE to make public the disciplinary actions taken against the perpetrators of the 2014 NSC mass cheating, she added. Failure to do so creates the impression of condoning such acts and threatens the credibility of the NSC in the coming years.
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