POLITICIANS in all three spheres of government, judicial officers and traditional leaders will be raking in more millions of rand, after their new salary scales for this year were publicly released.
President Cyril Ramaphosa recently approved a 3% salary increases for various categories of public office bearers – Deputy President Paul Mashatile, ministers and their deputies, premiers, MECs, MPs and MPLs, mayors and councillors, the country’s judges and magistrates and heads of chapter nine institutions – which sparked anger among trade unions.
Ramaphosa ignored the Independent Commission for Remuneration of Public Office Bearers’ recommendations to hike their salaries by 3.8% but after having due consideration to its proposals and the country’s serious economic challenges he settled for a 3% increase, which will be backdated to April last year.
While Ramaphosa has approved the 3% increases for other public office bearers, his pay rise from R3.08 million to R3.2m a year, as recommended by the commission, awaits the National Assembly’s green light.
He has also submitted to Parliament a notice for its approval before publication in relation to judges and magistrates’ salaries.
Had the president approved the 3.8% increase for the 20 587 public office bearers, their overall salary bill would have increased by more than R455.5m from R11.9 billion to R12.44bn and Mashatile would also have been the first second-in-command to breach the R3m mark in his annual salary.
National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and National Council of Provinces (NCOP) chairperson Amos Masondo earn the same amount as the deputy president.
The commission had recommended that Mashatile, Mapisa-Nqakula and Masondo be paid more than R3m.
Cabinet ministers are in line for salaries of almost R2.55m while their deputies, MECs and speakers of provincial legislatures will be paid about R2.1m, similar to the pay levels of Mapisa-Nqakula’s deputy Lechesa Tsenoli and NCOP deputy chairperson Sylvia Lucas.
The country’s nine premiers will now individually be paid just less than R2.4m.
DA leader John Steenhuisen’s salary will be nearly R1.7m a year while leaders of other opposition parties represented in Parliament will be paid about R1.43m.
Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke is set to be among the highest paid public office bearers with R5.23m and she received R1.57m in deferred compensation in the year that ended in March 2022.
Professor David Mosoma, chairperson of another chapter nine institution – the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities – and its commissioners, will be paid between R1.35m and R1m.
In May, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Thembi Nkadimeng said her department wanted the system of remuneration for councillors and traditional leaders to be reviewed.
One of her deputies, Parks Tau, this week said they were still consulting the SA Local Government Association and the nine MECs responsible for local government in order to finalise the upper limits for councillors for the 2022/23 financial year.
Cosatu expressed its disappointment with the decision to approve the 3% salary increase for public office bearers and described it as tone deaf and embarrassing as the National Treasury had recommended 1.5%.
“Load shedding, the rising cost of living, corruption and a stagnant economy have all happened under the watch and leadership of political office bearers. They do not deserve the packages they currently earn, let alone an increase in their salaries,” stated the trade union federation.
Its affiliate, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union, said it was infuriated and found it absolutely unethical for Ramaphosa to agree to the salary increases amid the challenges confronting the country and that there was no justification for the decision.