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Finance minister Tito Mboweni caused much misunderstanding last week when he said he had instructed his officials to expedite the matter of enabling people to withdraw part of their pension as the matter had been “stuck in the works too long.” This created the impression that this could be done soon and quite easily, and within weeks people could have a lump sum of their retirement savings in hand.

That is not the case. While the matter has been stuck in the works for a long time, it is nowhere close to being completed. When discussions between the retirement industry, Treasury and trade unions have made sufficient progress, the Treasury will still have to draft a bill to put to parliament. That will, for instance, have to include public hearings. Change is at least a year away...

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