South African millionaire politicians need pay rises to ‘meet cost of living’, parliament says

Parliament has issued a public statement in which it aims to ‘clarify’ and ‘put into proper context’ the latest salary increases for parliamentarians and other public office holders in South Africa.

“Some media outlets have suggested that the 3% salary increase for public office holders approved by the President earlier this month, on the recommendation of the Independent Commission for the Compensation of Public Office Holders, was muted. . Nothing could be further from the truth,” he said.

He added that public office holders like ministers last had pay rises in April 2019 when the commission recommended a 2.8% increase.

“Due to the prevailing and difficult economic conditions, it was important that the remuneration of public office holders be adjusted to enable them to cope with the increased cost of living.

“The average consumer inflation rate has increased, and for 2021 it was 4.5%, which is higher than the averages recorded for 2020 (3.3%) and 2019 (4.1%) – which results in the purchasing power of disposable income becoming lower.

Full set

Another important factor that Parliament says needs to be highlighted – an issue that is sometimes misinterpreted, he said – is the fact that MPs’ salaries are published as total pay and not plus costs.

“For instance, if an ordinary MP earns, say, R1.1 million a yearwhich includes the base salary, a flexible part, a travel allowance, a political office allowance and a contribution to the pension fund.

“Other deductions which will be taken from salary include tax (Pay as You Earn), medical aid, party contributions, accommodation in the village and others authorized by the individual MP such as a surety or a down payment on the car.”

While it is understandable that the remuneration of public officials often sparks public debate given the transparency with which they are treated, the constant scrutiny of their work as well as the socio-economic challenges facing the country, it is to find that they do not determine their own remuneration, Parliament said.

“An independent commission is charged with this responsibility; he submits any decision to the president for approval before publication. Unlike other countries, parliamentarians have no role in the process of determining their salary or annual raises.

Good pay for a good job

It is also vital that public officials are fairly remunerated in accordance with their scale of responsibilities under the Constitution, Parliament has said.

“For example, there are a total of 341 parliamentarians (minus ministers, deputy ministers and the vice-president) in the National Assembly who are responsible for overseeing state institutions made up of hundreds of thousands of employees, including senior managers.

“Compared to the salaries of civil servants, parliamentarians earn at a level equal to that of junior cadres.”

Fair wage

“In analyzing and reviewing the compensation of public officials, we also need to compare it to that of their counterparts around the world, especially in similar developing countries,” the parliament said.

“A desk survey suggests that South African public officials earn nowhere more than those in countries with similar GDP and population, among other considerations.”

It should also be noted that, as an added safeguard, unlike several other countries, South African parliamentarians are not permitted to take on any other remunerative responsibilities outside of their parliamentary work. If they undertake such work, they are obliged to report it for review under the code of ethics, the parliament said.

“By subscribing to a system of checks and balances that prevents them from having a say in determining their remuneration, parliamentarians have shown that they understand that public service is not about personal enrichment or luxury.

“In this regard, public officials would be the last to insist on anything beyond fair, equitable and sustainable compensation independently determined and commensurate with their obligations under the Constitution and the law. .

Salary changes

President Cyril Ramaphosa approved the salaries of a number of high-level government and parliamentary posts in a gazette published last week (June 14).

The President announced that salaries will take effect retroactively from April 1, 2021, with compensation structured as follows:

  • A share of basic salary equal to 60% of the total package, which constitutes the insured salary;
  • An amount of R120,000 per year pursuant to Section 8(1)(d) of the Income Tax Act;
  • Employer contribution to pension benefits equal to 22.5% of pensionable earnings.
  • A flexible part for the remaining amount of the total remuneration.

Based on these latest salaries, Vice President David Mabuza will now receive R2,910,234, an increase of nearly R100,000 from his total compensation package last year.

In comparison, the country’s ministers and deputy ministers will now receive R2,473,682 and R2,037,129 respectively.

Position Total compensation
deputy president R2 910 234
Minister R2 473 682
Deputy Minister R2 037 129

MPs and other legislative figures also received raises, with National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula set to take home more than 2.9 million rand. Opposition leader John Steenhuisen received a R1.64 million pay rise.

Position Total compensation
Speaker: National Assembly R2 910 234
President: NCOP R2 910 234
Vice-President: National Assembly R2 037 129
Vice President: NCOP R2 037 129
Speaker of the Chamber R1 938 963
Chief Whip: Majority Party R1 648 481
Chief Whip: NCOP R1 648 481
Parliamentary Advisor: President R1 648 481
Parliamentary adviser: Vice-president R1 648 481
Leader of the Opposition R1 648 481
chairman of a committee R1 540 628
Deputy Chief Whip: Majority Party R1 386 619
Chief Whip: Largest Minority Party R1 386 619
Leader of a minority party R1 386 619
Whip R1 286 713
Member: National Assembly R1 172 071
Permanent delegate: NCOP R1 172 071

Read: Ramaphosa approves pay rises for government officials – here’s what they’re earning now

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