R1.8 million salary on the cards for Deputy Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka

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Advocate Kholeka Gcaleka.
Advocate Kholeka Gcaleka.
Jan Gerber/News24
  • The Portfolio Committee on Justice will recommend to the National Assembly that Deputy Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka receives a salary increase of about R300 000 per year.
  • This after she was initially paid less than her predecessor.
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa proposed that she be paid the same as her predecessor, whose salary was R1,8 million a year.

Deputy Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka may look forward to a salary increase after she was initially paid about R300 000 per year less than her predecessor.

The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services on Friday approved a proposal by President Cyril Ramaphosa that Gcaleka's salary be adjusted. The National Assembly still needs to pass a motion to this effect.

Ramaphosa wrote to Speaker of the National Assembly Thandi Modise, who referred the matter to the committee, rejecting the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers recommendation that she be paid R1 446 378, with a recommended increase of 4% which amounts to R1 504 233.  

The proposal is that she be paid R1 814 065 per annum, which is what her predecessor, Kevin Malunga, was paid.

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Deputy Minister of Justice John Jeffery informed the committee that Ramaphosa had conferred with Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola on the matter, and both agreed with him.

According to Jeffery, it appears that the commission made an error in calculating the remuneration of the deputy public protector. Jeffery said the gap between the salary of the Public Protector and her deputy is "significant", and much more than at any other Chapter 9 institution.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane currently earns R2.3 million per year. If she was unable to fulfil her functions, or was removed, Gcaleka would fulfil her functions.

Salary

"The current salary of the [Deputy Public Protector] sees her earning considerably less than the executive management of the institution over which she shares oversight, thus undermining her authority to fulfil her responsibilities," Jeffery said.

"The salary earned by her predecessor was considerably higher than the salary she had been offered and the difference was only communicated to her after she accepted the position and started her work."

Jeffery said there wasn't a salary advertised with the advertisement for the post of deputy public protector. When Gcaleka assumed office in February this year, the Office of the Public Protector paid her according to the commission's recommendation.

Gcaleka had approached Malunga and enquired about his salary, which he provided.

"So she had a legitimate expectation," Jeffery said.

DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach said she finds it interesting that one of the arguments Jeffery advanced was that Gcaleka earns less than some of the executives she oversees, undermining her authority.

Situation

She said there was a situation at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) where deputy directors of public prosecutors and chief prosecutors were paid equally or less than junior and senior prosecutors. They took the NPA to court and won, but then the NPA decided to appeal the High Court ruling.

Breytenbach reserved the DA's position on the matter of Gcaleka's salary correction.

ACDP Steve Swart said: "It would be very unfair to have a woman appointed at a lower salary than her predecessor."

He, too, reserved his party's position.

ANC MP's supported the proposal.

ANC MP Richard Dyantyi said Gcaleka assumed office in February and it is now October, meaning she has been, "very much prejudiced".

"I don't want to attribute it to one person, but the signs are that things are now happening at the Office [of the Public Protector]," he said.   

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