Will Mmusi Maimane Take a Pay Cut?

2015-02-12 16:25

Mmusi Maimane in Parliament (City Press)

When Mmusi Maimane replies to Jacob Zuma’s ‘State of the Nation Address,’ he will no doubt point out the President’s key failings. The economy, corruption, and the Constitution are likely to dominate. And for good reason.

But the run-up to this SONA season has taken a different turn. The arrival of the EFF – with their visible anti-austerity garb – have challenged the ability for MPs to revel in the splendour of such an occasion. No matter how hypocritical the EFF’s stance, it has been effective at placing MPs’ pay and benefits in the spotlight.

So, Maimane’s recent edict that all DA MPs will forgo the usual SONA luxuries – the parties, the fancy clothes, and the glamour – things which they all enjoyed very enthusiastically, must be seen in that light.

But it is something that Maimane should be careful of doing – unless he is willing to take this logic to its full conclusion, and not be treated like a gimmick.

Jon Cayzer, former speechwriter to Maimane’s predecessor Lindiwe Mazibuko, writing in 2012 put it as follows:

"The salary packages South African parliamentarians get is scandalous, eclipsing the salaries of their British and German counterparts. The result is that in a poor country with a thin tax crust, like ours, an MP’s salary in excess of R800 000 can become aspirational rather than sacrificial. Would a career in South African politics be as attractive if, say, the package was R400 000? This figure itself is higher than the household income of the average South African home.

I often hear people (usually MPs) say that parliamentarians need to be well-paid in order to attract the “best” from the private and public sector. Not only does this not always appear to be evidence-based, the obvious rejoinder is: why? The best politicians everywhere are the reluctant ones; individuals who had to give up something. The entire point of public service is that one is expected to lay aside self-interest to contribute to the public good; to be a servant"

The challenge, then, is clear: Maimane must now start attacking the immense privilege that public servants at his level enjoy. Not just ministerial flights, cars, houses, and the like. Not the easy, low-hanging fruit. He must go after the whole system too.

Whether he has the political capital to do so – considering the self-interest of many of his friends and colleagues who also carry those much sought after postnominal letters – remains to be seen. Otherwise, this starting promise of reform will be nothing short of hollow.  In a country where so many suffer so much, anything but would be morally remiss.

*** This article was originally published on TheNewsHub ***

News24 Voices Terms & Conditions.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

AB praises selfless skipper

2010-11-21 18:15

Inside News24

 
/News
 

And the Paws24 and Hill's winners are ...

Find out who the winners of our Paws24 pet pics and Q&a competitions are...

 

Paws

Keep your family and pets safe from rabies
5 scientific benefits of owning a cat
Why we love cats
8 great natural remedies for your pet
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.