SA politico wages top those in UK

2010-11-20 14:42

In South Africa more than 25% of the adult population do not earn a salary at all.

Millions of people go hungry every day. The question therefore is: are the salary hike recommendations made by the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers in respect of our political leaders justified?

I presume that one of the ­criteria used by the commission in ­increasing the salaries of members of Parliament was the remuneration of office bearers elsewhere in the world.

A Google search on the ­remuneration of members of Parliament in the UK reveals that the difference in salaries between the political office bearers of the two nations favours South Africa’s political leaders.

Here are some calculations, using the present exchange rate of R11.20 to the pound sterling:
» President Jacob Zuma and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe: R2 367 467;
» Prime Minister David ­Cameron: R1 596 000;
» Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg – R1 500 800;
» SA Cabinet ministers – R1 811 141;
» UK Cabinet ministers – R1 507 128;
» SA Members of Parliament – R802 873; and
» UK Members of House of Commons – R736 265.

The UK salary adjustments came into effect in May, when David Cameron decreased his own salary and those of his Cabinet ministers by 5%, and froze all such increases for the five-year period of Parliament.

In South Africa they became ­effective when Zuma increased the salaries of political leaders by 5%, backdated to April.

Of course there are other significant differences between the two countries; South Africa has a population of 48 million people and the UK 61 million.

In South Africa, millions live in shacks and abject poverty, whereas in the UK such poverty is rare. In South Africa members are nominated to Parliament only by their respective political parties.

In the UK they are elected and therefore chosen by the people to represent them in the House of Commons.

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