Dienda wants dormant social funds clauses activated

19 Sep 2019 16:20pm
WINDHOEK, 19 SEP (NAMPA) – Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) legislator Elma Dienda wants clauses in the Social Security Act of 1994 activated to make provision for a pension fund, death and sick leave benefits and maternity leave for all female employees.
Dienda also wants the current Act to be amended in order to make provision for paternity leave for male employees, adoption benefits and an unemployment insurance fund.
The lawmaker made these submissions in a motion she tabled in the National Assembly (NA) on Wednesday.
Chief among her concerns is the fact that the majority of Namibians rely on an underfunded public health service, hence her call for the establishment of the National Medical Fund.
The fund should be established in line with the Social Security Act of 1994.
“It is now 25 years after the adoption of the Social Security Act 34 of 1994 [but this fund remains a pipedream],” Dienda said.
In 2011, the government, through the Social Security Commission (SSC) commissioned a study to determine the viability and sustainability of a National Medical Benefit Fund.
“A fund of this nature would provide for the over 80 per cent of the population currently denied quality, affordable health services,” she said.
Dienda noted that the implementation of this fund will be a “win-win situation” as it could benefit previously disadvantaged Namibians.
“[Private] medical aid funds would definitely feel threatened by the introduction of the new playing field meant to provide access to proper, affordable healthcare. However, it is important for the government to level the playing field. The common good of all people as a principle must be applied by the government across all sectors,” she said.
Dienda also wants a National Pension Fund.
“In my view, its establishment is on the basis that many employed Namibians are excluded from retirement fund arrangements and the already existing retirement funds have heavier strings attached than the National Pension Fund proposed in 1994, as a mandatory, contributory and social security pension,” she said.
She wants the current N.dollars 13 000 ceiling per month for a maximum of 12 weeks for fully paid up women on maternity leave to be revisited as it disadvantages women who earn more than the threshold.
The Act in question should also be amended to make provision for an adoption benefit and unemployment insurance fund.
“There is a need now more than ever to explore the possibility of establishing an unemployment insurance fund/scheme to shield those falling into involuntary unemployment from sudden exposure to poverty,” she said.