South Africa lockdown second wave Covid-19 Ramapho

President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the nation on developments in relation to the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. [Photo: GCIS]

  • The Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers has recommended that public office bearers should not get salary hikes this year. 
  • This will probably mean a salary freeze for the second year in a row for President Cyril Ramaphosa and his cabinet. 
  • All municipal councillors, magistrates, judges and traditional leaders also may not get salary hikes this year.
  • Following the commission’s recommendation, the president has the final say.
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None of South Africa’s public office bearers should get salary hikes this year, the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers found in its latest set of recommendations.

Every year, the commission, which runs a consultation process and analyses economic factors, makes a recommendation to the president, which ultimately decides on increases.

Last year, the commission recommended that government’s top earners – those earning more than R1.5 million – should get a 3% increase. But Ramaphosa threw out the recommendation, and ruled that these officials shouldn’t get a pay hike at all.

Those salaries should now stay the same for the second year in a row, following the commission’s recommendation.

This means that the speakers of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces, and the deputy president will still be paid R2.8 million,  cabinet ministers R2.4 million and provincial premiers almost R2.3 million. Ramaphosa earns R2.99 million. 

Last year, at the start of the country’s hard lockdown, Ramaphosa and the cabinet took a pay cut of 33% in their salaries for three months as the country was staring into an economic abyss. 

Other officials 

The commission also recommended a pay freeze for all other public office bearers – including those who earn less than R1.5 million. Public office bearers include a wide range of officials, among them judges, magistrates, traditional leaders and municipal councillors.

Last year, public office bearers who learn less than R500,000 a year, received a 5.5% increase, while those earning between R500,000 and R1 million got 4.5% and those earning between R1 million and R1.5 million received 2.8%.

But the commission recommended that for this year, none of these officials should get salary hikes given the state of the economy and fiscal restraints.

Over the past year, nearly half of all government revenue (R637 billion) went towards paying civil servant salaries.

In its budget in February, Treasury budgeted an increase of only 2.1% this year in civil servant remuneration, and 1.2% per year over the following two years.

As recently as in 2017/2018, some traditional leaders were getting 8% salary hikes.

READ | Increases of over 1,000% for a few – here’s how govt salaries spun out of control

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