Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa has accepted the recommendations of the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office-Bearers to increase politicians’ salaries by 3%.
In March, the commission recommended a 3% pay hike for all categories of public office-bearers including members of Ramaphosa’s executive (ministers and their deputies), premiers, MECs, MPs, MPLs, traditional leaders, judges as well as independent constitutional institutions such as the offices of the Public Protector, Auditor-General and Electoral Commission of SA, among others.
Ramaphosa approved the recommendations made by the commission this week.
The salary increases, which will be backdated to April last year, will see Deputy President David Mabuza earn more than R2.91 million a year, up from R2.82m.
Mabuza, National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and National Council of Provinces (NCOP) chairperson Amos Masondo earn similar salaries.
Cabinet ministers will be paid R2.47m annually, which is an increase from R2.4m, while deputy ministers’ salaries will top R2m for the first time.
Deputy ministers were previously paid R1.97m and their salaries are the same as those paid to MECs.
National Assembly Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli, NCOP deputy chairperson Sylvia Lucas and speakers of provincial legislatures also receive salaries similar to those earned by deputy ministers and MECs.
Premiers will receive R2.33m, which is up from R2.26m.
DA leader John Steenhuisen will be paid about R1.65m, which is up from R1.6m.
Leaders of other opposition parties represented in Parliament will also see their salaries increase to just over R1.38m from R1.34m.
The lowest-paid politicians in national and provincial government will be MPs in both houses of Parliament with R1.17m, which increased from R1.13m, while MPLs will see their pay improve to R1.13m from R1.1m.
Trade union federation Cosatu has noted that lowly public servants such as police officers, nurses and teachers will have to work for nine years before earning an annual salary of a director-general (up to R2.26m a year) or a judge (between R1.9m and R2.9m annually, depending on seniority).
Cosatu has called on the commission’s terms of reference to be extended to require it to consult with the public and not only Cabinet ministers who have a direct interest in its recommendations.
”The huge salaries and benefits that are paid to political office-bearers and senior bureaucrats are the source of the existing inequalities and unacceptable income disparities that currently exist in the public service,” the federation said.
It also expressed its disappointment with the commission’s recommendations, saying it was tone-deaf and embarrassing and demanded that Ramaphosa and South Africans in general should reject them.