How parastatal honchos stack up in wage stakes

Some of SA's SOE bosses earn double what the highest-paid civil servants receive.
Some of SA's SOE bosses earn double what the highest-paid civil servants receive.

While the bosses of South Africa’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs) earn nowhere near what their top corporate counterparts take home, some of their chief executives earn double what the highest-paid civil servants receive.

Last year, the highest-paid CEO at an SOE earned more than double the salary of President Cyril Ramaphosa, who will have earned about R3.6 million by the end of his first year in office.

And, as some SOEs lurch from scandal to scandal and beg for taxpayer-funded bailouts from government, many of their chief executives do not appear to present a value for money proposition.

Then Umgeni Water CEO Cyril Gamede was the top SOE earner with a take-home pay of R17.691 million.

The salary details for the heads of the SOEs, which were gleaned from the companies’ most recent annual reports, show that some of the state’s top executives earn three times more than the salaries of ministers, directors-general and the chief justice.

Last year, Cabinet ministers earned about R2.3 million, while directors-general earned an average of R1.7 million.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng earned about R2.82 million.

Some of 2016/17’s best-paid SOE bosses are not in those jobs any more. The City Press Wealth Index, compiled by Who Owns Whom from available company information and annual reports, found that in 2016/17:

  • Then Umgeni Water CEO Cyril Gamede was the top SOE wage earner with a R3.488 million salary, R1.359 million in benefits and a performance bonus of R7.644 million, plus a R5.2 million golden handshake, bringing his annual take-home pay to R17.691 million.
  • Second spot was occupied by Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko, who earned R16.267 million in 2016/17 and an R8.813 million performance bonus.
  • Former SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng took the third spot with his R2.733 million salary, R121 100 in benefits and an R11.509 million performance bonus, first revealed by City Press, which brought his annual salary to R15.453 million.
  • Telkom’s Isaac Mophatlane took fourth place with an R11.912 million salary during the past financial year, and his colleague, Telkom Mobile managing director Attila Vitai, came in fifth with his R11.619 million pay packet.
  • Denel’s chief financial officer Fikile Mhlontlo – whom City Press reported signed off on a R1 million flight school bursary for the son of former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo – got sixth place with a R9.827 million package.
  • Two more Telkom executives come in seventh and eighth positions – Deon Fredericks and Brian Armstrong – who earned R9.627 million and R9.581 million, respectively.
  • In ninth place was Public Investment Corporation chief executive Dan Matjila with his R9.535 million salary, which included a performance bonus of R4.215 million.
  • Tenth spot was bagged by the Development Bank of Southern Africa’s chief executive Patrick Khulekani Dlamini with his R4.744 million annual salary, R793 650 in benefits and a R3.859 million bonus. Total: R9.397 million.
  • Former Eskom chief executive Brian Molefe and his chief financial officer Anoj Singh – who allegedly allowed the company to be captured by the Gupta family – feature among the top 20 best-paid SOE bosses. Molefe, in 12th position, took home R8.871 million, which included a R2.11 million performance bonus. Singh, in the 17th spot, earned R7.238 million, which included a R1.879 million performance bonus.
  • Siyabonga Gama, the CEO of Transnet, came in at 15th with his R7.448 million in earnings. The state-owned logistics company is mired in a R54 billion state capture scandal involving disastrous deals that Gama’s predecessor, Molefe, signed with the Gupta family.


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