Those of us who have occupational pensions in SA, and who preserve them, know they can serve us well. Yet, in the latest Mercer CFA Institute report on pension systems around the world, SA ranks only 31st out of 43 systems. To be fair, SA is the only African country in the survey, and all of the countries with higher ratings have higher per capita incomes than SA, often as much as 10 times more.

The three top systems — Iceland, Norway and Denmark — also have high levels of trust between their populations and the state. Their populations can tolerate higher marginal tax rates than even SA, because they know they get value from their tax, not only in the national pension scheme, but in the quality of state education, health care, security and transport...

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