Ramaphosa declines to approve salary increases for Deputy President, Ministers

Image credit: Twitter/The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa

President Cyril Ramaphosa has decided not to adopt recommendations for salary increases for the Deputy President, Ministers, Deputy Ministers and other senior public office bearers.

However, he approved a 3% salary increase recommendation for public office bearers earning less than R1.5 million per annum across national and provincial governments.

His decisions are contained in a government gazette notice published on Friday. The new salary determinations are effective as from 1 April, 2019.

Ramaphosa’s salary dependent on Parliament

The Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers had recommended a 3% increase for public officer bearers earning more than R1.5 million and a 4% increase for those earning less than R1.5 million.

Following Ramaphosa’s decision, Deputy President David Mabuza will continue earning R2,845,470 per annum.

Ministers’ salaries will remain at R2,401,633 and those of Deputy Ministers at R1,977,795. The Speaker of the National Assembly and Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces will also continue earning R2,845,470 per annum each.

Ramaphosa is not permitted to set his own salary. According to the Commission’s recommendations, his salary could rise from R2,989,845 to R3,079,540 if Parliament approves.

Mboweni’s salary freeze announcement

The salaries of Premiers and Members of Executive Councils (MEC) will also remain at R2,260,409 and R1,997,795 per annum respectively.

This is the second year in a row that Ramaphosa has not fully adopted the Commission’s recommendations.

His decision is also in line with Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s announcement in his October 2019 Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) that there will be a salary freeze for ministers, deputy ministers, premiers and MECs.

The government is battling to contain the wage bill. In the MTBPS, Mboweni said government will seek spending reductions of R21 billion in 2020/21 and R29 billion in 2021/22.

He said, “29,000 public servants, plus members of the national executive, members of Parliament, members of provincial executives, and so forth, each earned more than R1 million last year [2018].”

This is double the number of public servants earning the same amount in 2006/07, he added. Taking into account inflation, the average government wage has increased by 66% in just 10 years.

To read Ramaphosa’s gazette notice, click here.

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