South African Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus. File picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi

Johannesburg - South African Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus received a 0.4 percent pay rise this year, indicating that one of the most prominent opponents of excessive executive pay in Africa's most advanced economy practises what she preaches.

With inflation at 6.6 percent in May, Marcus's tiny increase amounts to a pay cut in real terms although her annual R5.007 million salary is still 70 times that earned by entry-level platinum miners who have just ended a crippling five-month strike.

Marcus' deputy, Daniel Mminele, went one step further by receiving an actual reduction in salary to R3.8 million a year. The pay levels were given in the South African Reserve Bank's annual report.

Marcus has frequently castigated the pay hikes granted to senior executives in South Africa in the last few years. She has said hefty increases fuel labour unrest in what remains one of the world's most unequal societies by pushing unions to demand wage rises way above inflation.

“How sustainable are you if you're not going to be able to keep your workforce because you earn so much? Nobody is saying you're going to be poor,” she told financial professionals this month.

Marcus and Reserve Bank board members also passed up salary increases last year in answer to a pay freeze challenge from President Jacob Zuma.

South Africa's economy was pushed into contraction in the first three months of this year by the strike in the platinum mining sector. The Amcu union leading the strike had initially demanded a 150-percent increase in basic wages, but eventually settled on hikes of around 20 percent. - Reuters