Picture: Karelien Kriel/Pixabay
Picture: Karelien Kriel/Pixabay

No salary hike for public office-bearers earning more than R1.5m

By Mayibongwe Maqhina Time of article published Jun 18, 2020

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Cape Town - Top earning public office-bearers in Chapter Nine institutions that are pocketing more than R1.5 million a year are likely not to receive salary increases.

This as Parliament is set to receive a recommendation from the justice and correctional portfolio committee backing the salary freeze as determined by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

On Wednesday, the portfolio committee gave the go-ahead for the salary freeze and increase for certain categories of public office-bearers.

This comes after Ramaphosa wrote to National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise in March requesting that the national legislature consider and approve the salaries of the public office-bearers.

In his letter Ramaphosa said he received recommendations on salaries for the public office-bearers from the Independent Commission from the Remuneration of Public Office-Bearers.

"The commission recommended 3% salary increment for all office-bearers of Independent constitutional institutions earning above R1.5m and 4% salary/allowance increment for office-bearers below R1.5m with effect from 1 April 2019," Ramaphosa wrote.

He said the laws governing the Chapter Nine institutions provide that the allowances and benefits to commissioners to be determined and approved by the National Assembly. 

The affected institutions include the Human Rights Commission, Public Protector, Auditor-General, Independent Electoral Commission, Independent Communications Authority of South Africa, Commission on Gender Equality, Financial and Fiscal Commission as well as the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities.

Ramaphosa said he has determined the salaries of the public office-bearers after having considered the serious economic challenges facing the country.

He decided salary freeze for those earning R1.5m and above, 2.8% salary increase for those between  R1m and R1.5 brackets and 4.5% for public office-bearers below R1m.

In a statement on Wednesday , the justice and correctional services portfolio committee said it was the first time that Parliament was requested to approve the decision on an increase for remuneration of independent constitutional institutions.

It was previously only done by the executive, but this was amended last year and it is now required that the President recommend it to Parliament.

Committee chairperson Bulelani Magwanishe said the committee approved thRamaohosa-s determination with the salary increases backdated to July 1.

“It is important that the public should be made aware that this salary adjustment is a retrospective increase for the previous financial year. This is not a current increase," Magwanishe said.

"The whole country is facing financial challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic and we would not want South Africans to be under the impression that we are condoning salary adjustments of this nature in this difficult economic times,” he added.

Magwanishe said the increase would pertain to those office bearers earning up to R1.5 million per annum in the South African Human Rights Commission and the Office of the Public Protector.

If the salaries disclosed in the 2018-19nnual reports are anything to go by, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu as well as chairperson of the IEC, Icasa, Human Rights Commission, Financial and Fiscal Commission won't be receiving backdated salary increases because they earn R1.5m and above.

Political Bureau

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