Pension policy favours women

South Africa's policy of giving pensions to women at a younger age in an attempt to reduce poverty "has no time limit"

South Africa has no plans to change a pension policy that awards benefits to women at a younger age than men, according to a report in South Africa’s Sunday Times.

The policy was put in place because many elderly women were living in poverty.

Zola Skweyiya, South Africa’s social development minister, said the policy “has no time limit.” Skweyiya was responding to a question in Parliament about the practice that gives women pensions from the age of 60 while men have to wait until 65.

Skweyiya cited a study by the Human Sciences Research Council that found the provision of pensions to women at the age of 60 costs the government about 16 billion rand ($3.1 billion Cdn) per year. Removing the provision would mean that 55.8 per cent of elderly women would be in poverty, Skweyiya said.

State pensions rose to 740 rand ($146 Cdn) a month in 2004.

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