UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT

MEDIA RELEASE

 

LEGISLATION TO EMPOWER PEOPLE

STATEMENT ISSUED BY DR GERHARD KOORNHOF, MP
UDM SPOKESPERSON FOR FINANCE

The Pension Funds Amendment Bill currently before Parliament represents an excellent example of how to make empowerment a viable and sustainable reality. It is exactly this type of legislation that the UDM has been advocating since its inception. The UDM recognises that property ownership is vital for true economic empowerment. Access to capital remains one of the biggest stumbling blocks for disadvantaged people, and this legislation is a small but nonetheless important step in the direction of increasing access to capital.

The legislation intends to extend property ownership to people who did not have it before in two ways. Firstly, home ownership is encouraged by creating a mechanism for home loans to be granted against the guarantee of a person's pension. Secondly, land ownership is encouraged through a similar provision of loan guarantee.

This legislation could be a powerful tool to empower people who have right of occupation on land, like people in urban informal settlements and rural people living on tribal land. Many of these people cannot access capital even though they have pensions. They are relegated to the poverty cycle and cannot hope to own any property in their names. This legislation brings so-called "dead capital" back into the system, and in the process empowers some of the people who are most in need of empowerment. Cleverly it also takes into account spouses, thereby giving attention to the vital issue of gender equity in economic empowerment.

The UDM believes that many more innovative solutions such as this one can still be implemented and we will continue to campaign for such measures that narrow the gap between the "haves" and "have nots" without robbing Peter to pay Paul. This is how Parliament can work for the people.

Enquiries:
Dr Gerhard Koornhof, MP
UDM Spokesperson for Finance
083 308 6864

Cape Town
5 September 2001