Durban – Government employees in KwaZulu-Natal are the latest group of people to benefit from the recently launched KZN Financial Literacy Association.
The provincial Finance Department launched this flagship programme – the KZN Financial Literacy Association – which comprises five targets groups that will receive support and assistance with financial education.
Finance MEC Ina Cronje is extremely concerned with the level of indebtedness on the part of government employees and its effects on their health.
“With such an unsavoury situation, how then can we be fully fit and motivated to provide the necessary service to the public out there? They are looking at us to provide this service. How are we going to give of our best to the millions of people out there who are desperate for jobs and many other services?” said Cronje.
The launch of the Absa-sponsored Government Employees’ Financial Literacy took place at Sinodale Centre in Pietermaritzburg on Friday.
“If people are in debt, they get easily tempted to be involved in corrupt practices and this makes our efforts to fight fraud and corruption difficult. Our mission through financial literacy is to ensure that people know how to use money wisely and that they don’t live a life of misery as a result of indebtedness.
“With this flagship project … we target in-school youth, out-of school youth, women and vulnerable groups, SMMEs and government employees. But charity begins at home, hence the launch of this government employees’ arm of our project,” said Cronje.
According to the department, some even have to take up work outside government to supplement their income, but when they have to do government work, they are tired and ineffective.
Speaking on behalf of Absa, Norman Venketiah said after the recent turbulent financial crisis, financial services companies have a renewed obligation to be responsible in lending practices and at the same time, customers must restrain themselves from taking up too much debt.
“We shall actively work with all stakeholders, especially provincial government, to empower employees in the public service. South Africa is blessed with a progressive and strong financial services industry with a robust customer policy and legislative framework. It is in this context that customer education and empowerment programmes like the Financial Literacy programme are born,” he said.
Venketiah said studies have shown that financial illiteracy and stress over money can affect productivity in the workplace.
“It is widely recognised that financial literacy in the province and in South Africa is at an unacceptably low level. It has also been proven that the workplace is the best venue to reach people for financial education,” said Venketiah.
KZN Director-General, Nhlanhla Ngidi, expressed support for the initiative: “We are excited as the office of the Premier by such an initiative by the provincial treasury and its financial literacy partners. We are committing ourselves to assist treasury to ensure that they achieve their desired goals. Their goals are indeed the goals of us all in government.” – Kemantha Govender indebted, BuaNews