Picture: Soraya Crowie/African News Agency (ANA)
Picture: Soraya Crowie/African News Agency (ANA)

Public servants urged to resist ‘forced donations’ during lockdown

By Loyiso Sidimba Time of article published Apr 16, 2020

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Johannesburg - Public servants have been warned not to make contributions to the Solidarity Fund under duress or undue pressure.

The fund was set up to help President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

The warning from the Public Servants Association (PSA) follows concerns raised by state employees about being forced to take pay cuts after Ramaphosa’s announcement that he would take a 33% pay cut, along with his deputy, David Mabuza, executive and other public office bearers, to contribute to the fund for the next three months.

According to the PSA, its members raised concerns about the call but the union has assured them that these will be voluntary contributions and public servants are at liberty to contribute.

“Members should contact the PSA for assistance if there is any duress or undue pressure placed on them to make contributions or if any unauthorised deductions are made from their salaries,” the union said in a message to its members.

It has also demanded that the government ensures that its members’ rights are fully protected and that no deductions would be made without their consent.

The PSA’s warning follows Cosatu affiliate the SA Municipal Workers’ Union’s (Samwu’s) rejection of Ramaphosa’s call to participate in what it called a “salary cut challenge”.

Samwu also urged the country’s 257 municipalities and their entities last week not to expect their employees to participate in the planned pay cuts.

Members of the Forum of South Africa’s Directors-General (Fosad) this week appealed to all public servants in national and provincial departments, including state entities, to dig deeper in their pockets in support of the noble cause to donate to the fund.

The forum’s members met Ramaphosa on Sunday and resolved to have R30000 deducted from each of their salaries for up to five months to be put into the fund.

Fosad directed the amounts to be donated by members of the government’s senior management service - directors-general, their deputies, chief directors and directors - who are among the highest paid public servants.

This will also apply to special advisers and political office staff paid at similar levels as members of the senior management service.

Public Service and Administration director-general Yoliswa Makhasi told heads of departments and provincial administrations on Tuesday that government employees may elect to either have their contributions deducted from their salaries or make them directly to the fund.

Makhasi said each employee electing to make a donation as a deduction from their salary must approach their respective human resources department. “In order not to miss the May 2020 salary run, Fosad members are urged to complete the applicable form and submit it as soon as possible to their human resources departments.”

Political Bureau

* For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak visit IOL's #Coronavirus trend page

** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the government's 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or go to SA Coronavirus for more information.

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