South African government plans to abolish funeral cover sales to the poorest
South Africa’s government plans to stop insurers from selling funeral cover to welfare recipients. As a measure to protect the country’s poor, the government will replace private schemes with a state-run funeral plan.
Minister for Social Development Bathabile Dlamini announced the plan in parliament on Wednesday. Companies that could be impacted by the policy include Sanlam Ltd. (the biggest South Africa-based insurer) and Lion of Africa Assurance Co. Among others, these companies sell funeral cover that is paid from welfare grants meant for children. Some other businesses take money from social grants for other services, which is an illegal practice.
Dlamini commented, “The absence of a funeral benefit has opened our social grant beneficiaries to exploitation by private-insurance companies. The lack of government action to protect them has led to a very loud outcry by our beneficiaries and various civil-society organisations.”
Sanlam and Lion of Africa have rejected the government’s plans. The companies will attempt to maintain the current system through separate court cases this month. The current system allows deductions from social grants for a lone funeral insurance policy amounting to a maximum of 10 percent of the grant. About 16.9 million South Africans are on welfare. According to the government, many complain that there are deductions being made for funeral cover and other services without them being aware that they signed up for them.
Paul Myeza, CEO of Lion of Africa, said that the government will struggle to implement a complete ban on the practice.
“It doesn’t dramatically change the landscape,” Myeza said. “Those members can buy policies like anyone else. It’s an open market.”
Lion of Africa won an interdict against a temporary prohibition stopping all new deductions from child grants. On the other hand, Sanlam said it had complied with the measure.
“Sanlam supports the new moratorium and we’ve applied it as of December 1,” Jurie Strydom, the deputy chief executive officer of its Sky division stated, “Sanlam is not party to the legal action taken by Lion of Africa Assurance.”
G7 Summit guide: What it is and what leaders hope to achieve
Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand, you’ll have seen the term ‘G7’ plastered all over the Internet this week. We’re going to give you the skinny on exactly what the G7 is and what its purpose on this planet is ─ and whether it’s a good or a bad collaboration.
Who are the G7?
The Group of Seven, or ‘G7’, may sound like a collective of pirate lords from a certain Disney smash-hit, but in reality, it’s a group of the world’s seven largest “advanced” economies ─ the powerhouses of the world, if you like.
The merry band comprises:
- The United Kingdom
- The United States
Historically, Russia was a member of the then-called ‘G8’ but found itself excluded after their ever-so-slightly illegal takeover of Crimea back in 2014.
Since 1977, the European Union has also been involved in some capacity with the G7 Summit. The Union is not recognised as an official member, but gradually, as with all Europe-linked affairs, the Union has integrated itself into the conversation and is now included in all political discussions on the annual summit agenda.
When was the ‘G’ formed?
Back in 1975, when the world was reeling from its very first oil shock and the subsequent financial fallout that came with it, the heads of state and government from six of the leading industrial countries had a face-to-face meeting at the Chateau de Rambouillet to discuss the global economy, its trajectory, and what they could do to address the economic turmoil that reared its ugly head throughout the 70s.
Why does the G7 exist?
At this very first summit ─ the ‘G6’ summit ─, the leaders adopted a 15-point communiqué, the Declaration of Rambouillet, and agreed to continuously meet once a year moving forward to address the problems of the day, with a rotating Presidency. One year later, Canada was welcomed into the fold, and the ‘G6’ became seven and has remained so ever since ─ Russia’s inclusion and exclusion not counted.
The group, as previously mentioned, was born in the looming shadow of a financial crisis, but its purpose is more significant than just economics. When leaders from the group meet, they discuss and exchange ideas on a broad range of issues, including injustice around the world, geopolitical matters, security, and sustainability.
It’s worth noting that, while the G7 may be made up of mighty nations, the bloc is an informal one. So, although it is considered an important annual event, declarations made during the summit are not legally binding. That said, they are still very influential and worth taking note of because it indicates the ambitions and outlines the initiatives of these particularly prominent leading nations.
Where is the 2021 G7 summit?
This year, the summit will be held in the United Kingdom deep in the southwest of England, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosting his contemporaries in the quaint Cornish resort of Carbis Bay near St Ives in Cornwall.
What will be discussed this year?
After almost two years of remote communication, this will be the first in-person G7 summit since the novel Coronavirus first took hold of the globe, and Britain wants “leaders to seize the opportunity to build back better from coronavirus, uniting to make the future fairer, greener, and more prosperous.”
The three-day summit, running from Friday to Sunday, will see the seven leaders discussing a whole host of shared challenges, ranging from the pandemic and vaccine development and distribution to the ongoing global fight against climate change through the implementation of sustainable norms and values.
According to the UK government, the attendees will also be taking a look at “ensuring that people everywhere can benefit from open trade, technological change, and scientific discovery.”