Constitutional Court ruling “reaffirms separation of powers doctrine”

Friday, June 23, 2017

Cape Town – President Jacob Zuma says Thursday’s Constitutional Court ruling on the secret ballot matter reaffirms the separation of powers doctrine. 

The President said this when he appeared before Parliamentarians in the National Assembly for a question and answer session on Thursday. 

Earlier in the day, the Constitutional Court ruled that the Speaker of the National Assembly was, as the presiding officer of the National Assembly, empowered to rule on whether or not to allow a secret ballot in the motion tabled a few months ago for a vote of no confidence against the President by opposition. 

“The Constitutional Court today has affirmed the separation of powers and outlined what is to be done in matters of this nature,” he said. 

Meanwhile, the President said urgent steps are being taken to establish the Commission of Inquiry to investigate allegations of State capture. He said the e-mails that are being reported on in the media will form part of the inquiry. 

“As part of the measures to deal with the matter, we have taken a decision to establish a judicial commission of inquiry and the e-mails will be part of that. 

“Then we will be able to speak about the e-mails, with a serious scientific investigation, which will tell us exactly what happened and tell us to what extent they are disrupting the lives of all South Africans... We are moving as fast as possible to establish the commission (sic),” he said. 

Proposed Social Security Fund to relieve poverty post retirement 

Meanwhile, the President said the proposed National Social Security Fund will, once approved, help workers make regular social security contributions while they are still working to avoid falling into poverty in the event of retirement or disability. 

He said it will operate as a national fund responsible for administering mandatory contributions from all workers for the provision of retirement, death and disability benefits. 

The proposals under the fund are still being discussed by social partners at National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac).

“All income earners will be required to participate, and this will foster social solidarity and the sharing of risks among all workers. 

“Furthermore, the fund will provide an income to the dependants of all contributors, who happen to die before retirement. 

“The benefits will be defined benefits, where benefits are guaranteed in order to protect contributors and foster social solidarity,” he said. 

The President said those who earn low incomes will be supported through a contribution subsidy to reduce the burden on their disposable income. 

“The benefit design of the fund is crucial for the protection of vulnerable workers in our country. 

“At present, the existing retirement benefit schemes are based on defined contributions, rather than defined benefits. This means that the contributors have no guarantee of how much their benefits will be and they face the risk of losing their savings in the event of poor market performance. 

“In contrast, the Fund will carry the risk of poor investment performance on behalf of individual contributors, and thus provide assurance of a guaranteed benefit to all workers and their households.” –

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