The government will introduce a new law to curb “excessive salaries” in public institutions, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has announced.
In his budget speech in Parliament on Wednesday, Mboweni said this is among several measures government is taking to reduce wasteful expenditure and corruption.
He said, “We are moving forward with reforms to the procurement system with a focus on value for money and maximising the quality and quantity of services. Cabinet approved the publication of a new Public Procurement Bill.”
‘Wasteful subsistence and travel system’
“We will accelerate merging and consolidating public entities. We will propose a new law to stop excessive salaries in these public entities,” Mboweni added.
Other measures include reducing the high costs of leasing government buildings and abolishing the current “wasteful” subsistence and travel system.
In addition, government will replace its cell phone policy and require public officials to use economy class travel for all domestic flights, except for exceptional circumstances.
Mboweni also said some of South Africa’s diplomatic missions abroad will be closed, merged or downgraded. The number of officials posted abroad will also be reduced.
More funding for NPA
President Cyril Ramaphosa has repeatedly stated his commitment to strengthening the law enforcement agencies to fight corruption.
To this end, Mboweni said, “The NPA [National Prosecuting Authority], Special Investigating Unit and Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation get an additional R2.4 billion in this Budget.
“This will enable the appointment of approximately 800 investigators and 277 prosecutors who will assist with, among other things, the clearing the backlog of cases such as those emanating from the [Deputy Chief Justice Raymond] Zondo commission [into state capture].”
This is a huge win for the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Shamila Batohi, who called on Ramaphosa in October last year to address staffing issues at the NPA and the Hawks.
The NPA is facing increasing pressure from the public to prosecute alleged high profile state capture and corruption perpetrators.
Some analysts have touted the lack of prosecutions as a major weakness in Ramaphosa’s anti-corruption and anti-state capture clean-up campaign.