Fidentia, Jobs, Social Security

Union counts cost of Fidentia fiasco

The Mineworkers Provident Fund (MPF) was established by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in 1989 to provide for dependants of deceased comrades. MPF poured R1.4 billion into Fidentia through the Living Hands Trust. The MPF and its beneficiaries – widows and orphans are casualties of the Fidentia investment scandal. Inspectors from Financial Services Board are looking at the amount of money that is unaccounted for ranging from R406 to R689 million. The need for governance, trustee education and independant advice has been highlighted by this scandal. Curators announced retrenchment of around 280 staff to meet beneficiary payments.

(City Press, 17 February 2007)

Red lights flashing on jobs, crime

Based upon a Markinor poll conducted in November 2006 with 3500 South Africans, they see red lights around government’s performance in creating jobs and reducing unemployment, stopping the flight of brains, lowering crime, making the right appointments and controlling the cost of living.

(Sunday Times, 11 February 2007)

Compulsory pension plan for all on the cards

Government is considering a social security system whereby all working people will be compelled to save a % of their income for retirement and be guaranteed a minimum monthly pension.  The aim is to drive up the savings rate, encourage savings by low income earners and close the gap between the state old-age pension and the private retirement fund industry. A social security system will affect the private sector and could even compete with it.  According to the Human Sciences Research Council’s Miriam Altman, private pension plans cover around 29% of the total labour force. Currently the social grants and tax incentives act as a disincentive for low income earners to save for retirement. The social security scheme would be similar to UIF in distributing risk and providing benefits to more individuals.

(Business Day, 6 February 2007)

To see the future of software and work, look at the history of the car

Windows Vista could be the last of successive generations of the Windows operating system. Going beyond a commerical launch, the idea that it could be the last update points to the development of technologies. They “reach stage of sophistication from which further gains are less important than the leaps that initially established their significance.”  Using the car as an example, after about two decades of design, the petrol engine has been part of the standard design for nearly a century. In in a similar fashion, software in future will be attached to new services instead of the computer. Cars changed our physical landscape lgiving rise to suburbia and malls. Computers are going to change our lives and work, for example commuting time will fall.

(Business Report, 4 February 2007)

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