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New municipal political heads will not receive pay hikes

FILE: Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma

FILE: Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma

Published Nov 9, 2021

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Councillors have been waiting to hear whether they will receive pay hikes, following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on government finances.

Earlier this year, President Cyril Ramaphosa declined to increase the salaries of public office bearers, Cabinet ministers and their deputies, premiers and MECs, judges, magistrates and traditional leaders – following the recommendations of the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office-Bearers, which is based in the Presidency.

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South Africa's almost 9 500 councillors earn nearly R7 billion of the more than R11.6bn spent on salaries, of about 20 600 public office-bearers every year.

Among the reasons cited by the commission, for recommending a 0% increase to Ramaphosa, was the country's fiscal condition, the state's wage bill and the impact on public office-bearers’ salaries, the increment on the fiscus and general economic outlook.

Dlamini Zuma indicated that she had consulted all MECs responsible in local government, in the nine provinces, before announcing her decision to determine a 0% cost of living adjustment for the upper limits of salaries, allowances and benefits of different members of municipal councils for the 2020/21 financial year.

Heads of chapter nine institutions, such as Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, her deputy Kholeka Gcaleka, and commissioners of the SA Human Rights Commission, among others, also did not receive salary increases.

In September, unions representing municipal workers secured a 3.5%, three-year wage increase at the SA Local Government Bargaining Council, in the first year of the deal.

The remaining two years will be based on the projected consumer price index, in 2022 and 2023.

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Municipal workers will also receive a once-off amount R4 000 for employees earning less than R12 500, and R3 000 for those getting paid R12 501 and above.

The provincial government are also starting to review their salary bills amidst the challenges facing the government.

In Mpumalanga, the provincial government has admitted that its administration is very labour-intensive on services, especially with the Department of Education and Health accounting for between 60% of the spending, while the Western Cape sits at 55%.

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“The percentage has been rising quickly in recent years, putting more and more pressure on non-wage spending in the province. The provincial Treasury, through the Government Technical Advisory Centre (GTAC), is planning a workshop on the compensation of employees,” the department announced.

There are also plans to manage the compensation of employees’ budget, over the 2022 medium-term expenditure framework, to ensure that the province meets its set ceiling until the end of March 2025.

Among the measures to be rolled out are headcount management, recruitment, and human resources development to operate within its limit.

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Political Bureau

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