The sudden increase of president Jacob Zuma’s salary has received lots of criticisms from South Africans more especially from opposition parties who see it as unnecessary especially in the turbulent economic crises the country is facing at the moment.
The National Assembly had on Thursday approved an increase in Zuma’s salary by over R100 000, from R2.75m to over R2.8m. The decision of the National Assembly was not without heavy criticism from about 81 MPs who voted against it.
Opposition parties who had not in been in support of the salary hike accused the president of presiding over an ailing economy.
To them, Zuma who has been the major reason for the current economic slop in the country through his extravagant spending followed by the dismissal of the former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene, ought to be punished and not rewarded for his deeds.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) were at the fore front of this accusations as they accused the president for engaging in several reckless spending.
The DA’s chief whip, John Steenhuisen, who spoke for the party reiterated that the president does not deserve a cent for being the president for leading the country into economic ruin. Instead, that he deserved to be fired.
Steenhuisen, who claimed to be speaking for all south Africans, said the country had other pressing issues like unemployment which the money meant to be added to Zuma.s salary would help to solve. Steenhuisen pointed to President Zuma’s empty seat saying;
It is grotesque, absolutely grotesque, to compare our work as members of Parliament with that man who sits over there behind that coat of arms,
President Zuma does not deserve a cent increase in his salary. You want more, we will give you the door.
The DA rose to ask that the increase proposal be amended to say that in the light of Zuma’s “reckless actions” at the end of last year in changing the minister of finance twice, his salary should remain unchanged.
More to this, Cope MP Deidre Carter lashed out at the increase given to Zuma. She said the president did not deserve the increase because he had shamed the country and the office he occupies over his policies. She also added that the president had brought the country right to the precipice of bankruptcy.
However, not all political parties opposed the controversial salary hike. Three political parties namely – the IFP, UDM, the National Freedom Party and Agang supported the ANC and called the parties opposing the increase hypocritical after they had their salaries increased as well.
It was also said that the ruling ANC used their majority to push through the increase in Parliament. In terms of votes, 172 MPs were said to have voted in support of the salary hike for the president and it was assumed that the memebers of the parliaments took to this decision because their salaries were also increased by president Zuma.
“It’s a pity. All of us sitting in this House received our salary increases this morning. These increases were signed off by none other than the president. Even the racists received that salary increase in this House,”ANC’s acting chief whip, Doris Dlakude reminded the house.
Cheryllyn Dudley of the African Christian Democratic Party said this came in the midst of the economic turmoil facing the country.