South Africa Finance Minister Tito Mboweni arrives at Parliament for the 2019 Budget speech. PHOTO: GCIS

PARLIAMENT - Politicians and senior executives at state-owned enterprises can forget about pay increases this year, as Finance Minister Tito Mboweni announced measures to curb the government wage bill.

"As a gesture of goodwill, Members of Parliament and provincial legislatures and executives at public entities will not be receiving a salary increase this financial year," he said while tabling South Africa's national budget on Wednesday.

The announcement came after Mboweni told MPs government would be offering voluntary early pensions without penalties for workers between 55 and 59 years of age.

Mboweni said national and provincial employee compensation budgets would be cut by R27 billion over the next three financial years.

"The public wage bill is unsustainable. We must shift expenditure to investment," he said.

"The first step is to allow older public servants who want to do so, to retire early and gracefully."

According to the budget review document, if approximately 30,000 of the 126,710 public servants aged between 55 and 59 take up this offer, it could save government around R20.3 billion.

Details of the early retirement framework will be released by Public Service and Administration Minister Ayanda Dlodlo this week.

African News Agency (ANA)