State based careers in South Africa have a twisted reputation for their varying amount in salary scale. For example, the salary scale in South Africa portrays a situation where nurses, teachers and policemen who work their asses off everyday are paid meager salaries while Councillors, mayors, ministers and other government officials get overpaid and take home very high salaries.
There are various categories of state employees made up of people who belong to different career paths, they include administrators, legal practitioners, healthcare workers, construction workers and the list goes on – all on the government’s monthly or annual payroll. This makes the salary scale in South Africa a bit of a burden on the economy.
According to Africa Check, there are over 2.1 million people working for the government or government institutions in South Africa – including over 450,000 national government employees, 1.1 million provincial government employees and 550,000 other state employees.
The long list of employees on the government’s payroll contributes to the biggest expenses made by the government, constantly totaling close to R470 billion a year and accounting for over a third of government spending.
Economists say, South Africa’s massive workforce at the civil service is one of the major challenges that is restricting the economy from achieving greater heights. They also suggest that steps be taken to scale it down and make it more efficient.
Last year, unions and pressure groups representing civil servants negotiated a wage deal with the government that would see teachers, nurses and other state workers receive a 7% salary increase for the year, with a 1% increase above consumer inflation for the next two years.
This agreement led to a R12.5 billion deficit in the budget in 2015, which had to be partly financed from the country’s R5 billion emergency funds.
Below is what the salaries look like for both civil servants and government officials.
It should be noted that the salary scale in South Africa listed below are rounded off for legibility and represent the latest-available information, not taking the initial increments into account. Salary scales differ depending on position, grade and salary level.
Healthcare practitioners working at state hospitals and clinics have salary scales that range from R95,000 for nursing assistants to R1.82 million for department heads.
|Nurses||R150,000 – R350,000|
|Medical Officers||R480,000* – R990,000|
|Medical Specialists||R1.33 million|
|Dentists||R480,000* – R1.9 million|
Teachers and Community Workers
Teachers’ salaries are determined by academic qualification, years of experience, as well as grade and level of teaching.
|Teachers (general)||R60,000 – R280,000|
|High school teachers||R153,000|
|Prison educators||R90,400 – R420,000|
|Social workers||R105,000 – R650,000|
Police salaries are determined by years of experience in the force across different wage bands.
|Officers||R105,000 – R156,000|
|Chief justice||R2.6 million|
|Constitutional / Supreme Court judges||R2.1 million|
|High Court judges||R1.7 million|
|Litigation specialists||R1.4 million|
|Senior state law advisors||R1.1 million|
This is the highest paid on the list. Meanwhile, President Zuma and other heads of government are in for another 5% salary increase in 2016
|Deputy president||R2.6 million|
|Deputy ministers||R1.8 million|
|Municipal councillors||R450,000 – R830,000|
Other State Paid Salaries
|Garbage collectors||R72,000 (minimum wage)|
|Artisans||R94,400 – R450,000|
|Environmental officers||R195,000 – R400,000|
|Architects||R230,000 – R670,000|
|Engineers||R445,000 – R1.6 million|
|Construction Managers||R445,000 R1.4 million|
|Scientists||R385,000 – R1.3 million|