File photo: Doctor Ngcobo African News Agency (ANA).

The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) says that the freezing of wages of the public service will further hamper any form of economic growth due to the reduced buying power of the over 1.3 million public servants.

The union says that it had noted with concern the comments attributed to the Deputy Minister of Finance David Masondo, at an investor conference in Cape Town on Monday, where Masondo told investors of the government’s intention to freeze wages across its operations in curbing its escalating expenditure.

“He further went on to boldly indicate that the government needed to show that it was in control of the public purse.

“It is worth noting that the Alliance Political Council meeting, held on 10 to 11 November 2019, referred this matter to take place within proper processes for engagement and therefore attaching great importance to the urgent necessity for a holistic approach that involves all stakeholders and seeks to unify a widest possible range of South Africans to address this crisis,” said Popcru spokesperson Richard Mamabolo.

He said that Popcru was of the view that the Masondo’s views were pre-emptive in nature and only sought to undermine the very platforms where such matters are to be thoroughly engaged on saying that this could only lead to engagements which are in bad faith.

“Engagements should correctly be taken to the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) where conditions of service are discussed, and due process must be followed.

“We urge the deputy minister to refrain from making pronouncements on matters that are still on the table as these unilateral calls cannot be acceptable. We are against these intentions to freeze public wages,” Mamabolo said.

He said that South Africa was a developing nation that had set itself on the National Development Plan (NDP) path, which calls for a developmental state that should have the required capacity to serve the poor and the working class. 

Mamabolo said that this required more public servants such as police and any intention to freeze wages would be an antithesis to this outlined plan.

“The move to freeze wages of the public service will further hamper any form of economic growth due to the reduced buying power of the over 1.3 million of the public servants and further add to a stagnated economic outlook.

“These excesses in the public service are also due to blatant corruption and misappropriated public funds as recently seen from the AG's report, and therefore ordinary workers should not be made to take the fall for corrupt officials. The Deputy Minister’s intended move would be tantamount to such,” Mamabolo said.

Political Bureau