New fund to help low income families fund tertiary educationGovernment's education department has just announced a new scheme to help you fund your child's tertiary education. For every R4 you put into a Fundisa account, the government will put R1 into the same account for you.

Who can open a Fundisa account?

You must have a Mzansi account or similar banking account You must be a South African citizen with a green bar-coded ID.

How much money do I need to open an account?R40.

How much money do I need to put into the account each month?At least R40.

What happens if I can't pay any money into the account for a few months?You can phone and make arrangements so that the bank knows you can't pay. You will not be penalised.

How does the Fund work?You put your money into the account. In October of each year, the bank/financial institution will add up how much money you have put into the account.

In January the next year the government will then add to your account one quarter of what you have put into the account as an extra saving.For example:You put in R50 each month.

By October you have put in R500. In January the next year, the government will add one quarter of that to your fund as a bonus ie R125.

Is there a limit on how much bonus you will get?Yes. The limit is R600 (ie if you pay more than R200 per month you will still only get a bonus of R600 at the end of the year).

How much money must I put in each year to get the bonus of R600?R200 per month or R2400 per year.

What happens if I need to withdraw that money because I have a crisis at home?You can withdraw the money that you have put in plus the interest but you won't get the bonus.

Who pays the bonus?The government pays it.

How does the Fundisa account differ from an ordinary savings account?This account is specifically for education. With other savings accounts by the end of the year you might find you have a deficit because of bank charges.

With this one it remains as it is. It can only build interest, the service charge is only 1,25% and because you are not making withdrawals, your actual amount won't decrease.

With an ordinary savings account you only get interest on what you put into the account. A Fundisa account gives you interest on the money that you put into the account as well as on the bonus amount that the government puts into your fund.

What is the interest rate?9% currently.

Where can I open a Fundisa account?Standard Bank and Nedbank now. The Post Office will set up soon and Absa from 2008.

What happens when my child passes matric and wants to access the money to go on to tertiary education?You must tell the bank. The bank will give you an award certificate that will show how much money you have saved.

The learner must take this award certificate to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) at the place of learning where your child wants to study. The NSFAS will write to your bank and your bank will pay your savings to the NSFAS.

When should I open this account?It is best to open this account when your child is born. The longer you are paying into this account before you use it, the more interest the account will earn and the greater your returns will be.

What happens if my child doesn’t want to go on to tertiary education?You can take out all the money that you have put in plus the interest. The money that the government gave you as a bonus will go back to the government.

Is this the answer to funding my child's tertiary education?Not entirely. Numsa and Cosatu believe that tertiary education should be free. But until then, this is a way of ensuring that if your child does go on to tertiary education you will have some money to pay towards the costs.

(Thanks to Stanlib for the information on this fund.)

Medical aid is making us poorer!Nicholas Malgas

It is with utmost sadness to really find that as workers we are still bound under the apartheid rule, whereby we thought that things will be better for us when we had fought so hard to ensure that apartheid exits.

Today, apartheid has changed its face of ensuring that the poor stay poor and the rich gets richer through these medical aids.

If you really notice that as blue collar workers we lose a big chunk of our wages/salaries to these medical aids and what we get in return is this unacceptable interest that they charge in a year (not less than twice a year ) as well as these medical bills that one has to pay due to insufficient benefits.

I strongly believe that as workers we need to have our own medical scheme, which will be controlled by ourselves to drastically improve our take home-pay.

We find ourselves at various companies still subsidising those that are getting fat packs for only instructing us whilst we are the producers of the core business.

Our modernised slavery is worse off than the one of the Botha's, Kruger's, Malan's and you name them as the list is endless. I am not just sparking this debate but it is imperative for me to ask ourselves "Where did we go wrong?"Medical Aid ya-masimba! Cima qha!


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