Public officials' pay to increase by between 4% and 8%

2017-11-30 21:26
President Jacob Zuma. (Thuli Dlamini, Gallo Images, The Times, file)

President Jacob Zuma. (Thuli Dlamini, Gallo Images, The Times, file)

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Cape Town – President Jacob Zuma on Thursday announced annual salary increases for public office bearers for the 2017/18 financial year, and it is senior traditional leaders who will benefit the most.

After considering the recommendations of the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers and the performance of the economy Zuma accepted the commission's recommendations for all categories of public office bearers except magistrates, the Presidency said in a statement.

"Salaries and allowances of different categories of public office bearers are determined by the president after taking into account, among others, the recommendations of the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers," reads the statement.

The Magistrates Act requires magistrates' salaries to be approved by Parliament.

Zuma requested Parliament to approve the recommendation that magistrates' salaries be adjusted by 5.5%.

The adjustments accepted by the president are as follows:

  • 4%: Members of the national executive and deputy ministers, the Speaker and chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, and MECs and speakers of the provincial legislatures, and all judges;
  • 4.5%: Members of Parliament and provincial legislatures and kings and queens; 
  • 5% adjustment: Top leadership of the National House of Traditional Leaders (NHTL) and the Provincial House of Traditional Leaders (PHTL);
  • 6%: Full-time members of the NHTL and full-time members of the PHTL and sitting allowances for all members of the NHTL and the PHTL; and
  • 8%: Senior traditional leaders.

The commission further recommended the adjustment of the remuneration of headmen and headwomen to R106 106 and the extension of the medical aid benefits currently applicable to traditional leaders with effect from 01 April 2017.

'Impact of inflation better absorbed by higher-income earners'

In the commission's report, which was gazetted on October 27, the rationale for its recommendations is explained as follows:

"Consideration was given to the consultations with the finance ministry and the dire straits faced by the economy in general and the fiscus in particular. The current economic difficulties cannot be ignored and the majority of citizens are adversely affected by the poor economic growth rates and inflation.

"The commission further considered an average inflation-linked increase in order to protect salaries against the increased cost of living. However, due to the state of the economy and affordability, the commission resolved that the impact of inflation can be absorbed better by higher earners than lower earners. A proportionately lower adjustment would, therefore, be appropriate for higher earners. 

"It is believed that the remuneration levels of the highest earning POBs (public office bearers) provide them with a greater portion of disposable income, which can act as a buffer against the effects of inflation. The commission, therefore, agreed to consider appropriate adjustments to the remuneration of POBs on their salary band."

Last year Zuma accepted the commission's recommendation of no salary increases for top public office bearers "as a patriotic sacrifice", which included the executive, MPs and members of provincial legislatures, judges and mayors. 

That meant that Zuma's salary remained at just under R2.9m, while the deputy president and the Speaker continued to earn R2.7m and ministers just over R2m per annum.


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