'Rules changed, there's no benefit for a minister to resign to benefit pension'

A number of African National Congress (ANC) Members of Parliament have retired after not making it into President Cyril Ramaphosa’s executive, and questions are being asked as to why.

Political analyst Melanie Verwoerd chats to John Maytham and says while people are suspicious something bigger is at play, one needs to look a the cases individually.

She disagrees with the media narrative that it is about money - the argument that if you remain an MP after being a minister it penalises you with regards to pension benefits.

That is not correct. It was true under a previous dispensation.

Melanie Verwoed, Political analyst and author

There are two pension funds in Parliament, one for those who began under the apartheid regime and are still there, and another for those who came in after 1994.

The rules changed, so there is absolutely no benefit for a minister to resign in terms of pension benefits.

Melanie Verwoed, Political analyst and author

She says it is a defined contribution, and members contribute together with the State's contribution.

She says it may be too unappealing for individuals to now become normal Members of Parliament after holding a ministerial position.

Once you cease to be an MP and then reach retirement age, you can draw pension or take out the entire amount.

There is no equalisation or topping up. That is an old story and it does not exist anymore.

Melanie Verwoed, Political analyst and author

If you retire you will receive no additional money. if you stay on as an MP, in fact, the contributions will continue to grow.

What are the possible reasons then?

She believes there is a generational factor. Many of them such as Jeff Radebe, have served a very long time and in any other job would indeed be at pensionable age, she says.

She says another factor could be that once an MP has become used to the status, perks and influence of a Cabinet post, it is difficult to adjust to being an ordinary backbencher member again.

I think very few people's egos can manage that...When the egos kick in it is not such an easy thing to do.

Melanie Verwoed, Political analyst and author

It would be very much a demotion and a step-down and they think been there, done that.

Melanie Verwoed, Political analyst and author

Listen to the interview below:


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