Freeze top earners’ salaries – Zuma

2012-10-17 15:00

President Jacob Zuma has called on CEOs and executives to freeze their salaries and bonuses for the next year in a bid to address economic inequalities.

He said the proposed freeze on salaries of top management in both the private and public sector over the next 12 months would be a “strong signal of a commitment to build an equitable economy”.

Speaking to the media after the presidential high-level dialogue on the economy with business, civil society and labour at the Union Buildings today, Zuma said the meeting had agreed to address gaping income inequalities.

The meeting is a response to the problems besetting the economy, including wildcat strikes in mining.

Zuma said the meeting had identified inequalities as “a primary risk to our future as a sustainable and successful society”.

He said this would require “commitments by those in executive positions to tighten their belts as part of building a shared commitment to prosperity and growth”.

Zuma said the parties would set up a committee “to consider the local and international experience in addressing income inequalities and will develop further proposals within the next six months”.

This would include the call for a salary freeze.

The meeting also called on workers who had engaged in unprotected strikes to return to work, and for normal production in mining to resume.

He said challenges facing workers and communities – including lack of housing in mining communities, wage pressures because of high personal debt levels and wage disparities – would be attended to.

Zuma said a package of interventions would be implemented to address the problems, and that parastatals such as the Development Bank of SA, Sanral, Eskom and the Industrial Development Corporation has been given time frames and responsibilities to implement the plans.

The plans include:
» accelerated infrastructure roll-out to create jobs;

» dealing with the living conditions in mining communities;

» measures to address challenges faced by workers and companies affected by the global economic slowdown;

» addressing the growth of reckless lending; and

» creating jobs through public sector work programmes.

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