Johannesburg - Cyril Ramaphosa looks set to be the first president of South Africa to earn more than R3 million a year following the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers’ recommendations.
The commission has recommended that public representatives at national, provincial and local government levels, members of the judiciary and magistrates and traditional leaders, be paid between 3% and 4% more, backdated to April last year.
Ramaphosa’s salary will be almost R90000 more if he accepts the 3% recommendation by the commission.
The commission’s recommendations mean that Ramaphosa’s salary would increase from R2.99m to about R3.1m.
Deputy President David Mabuza would be paid R2.91m.
Commission chairperson, North West Judge President Mashangu Leeuw, noted that they were aware that the economy was in a dire situation and that the government’s finances were under pressure.
“The commission recommends that independent constitutional institutions be treated in line with other public office bearers,” the commission said.
The commission suggested to Ramaphosa a 3% adjustment to the income of public office bearers earning more than R1.5m and 4% for those who are paid less.
Among the reasons the commission cited for the increase was the country’s ailing economy.
It noted that “deteriorating economic performance and revenue shortfalls have contributed to slippage in fiscal projections... the continued decline in the financial condition of state-owned companies has also led to requests for additional support from the fiscus”.
Leeuw and the commission consulted Cabinet members Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola as well as Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng and the lower courts remuneration committee.
Under the commission’s proposals, the lowest public office bearer will earn a R1245 daily sitting allowance.
The commission admitted that not all concerns raised by stakeholders could be addressed.
The country’s largest trade union federation has rejected the commission’s recommendations.
Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla called for public representatives’ salaries to be frozen for three years.
He said in the face of worsening poverty there was no justification for pay hikes for politicians. “We will fight over this.” .
He said the country was R3 trillion in debt while there were millions struggling, and who were jobless.
According to Cosatu, until the economy was turned around nothing would turn around.
Pamla said senior government officials and politicians already received exorbitant perks and salary packages.
“There is no value in rewarding politicians,” he added.
Pamla demanded that public representatives at all levels should pay the price like citizens.
“We can’t have an elite trying to tell us how to prop up their lifestyles,” he said.
Independent Media has previously reported that Mboweni rejected salary increases for members of some state-owned entities as part of the government’s bid to cut costs.
The status quo is blamed on deteriorating economic performance and revenue shortfalls that have contributed to a slippage in fiscal projections, with the government is hoping to save R32.4 billion in the next three years.