The Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office-Bearers has called on government officials, including President Jacob Zuma, to take the proposed zero % pay increase as a “patriotic sacrifice”.
The commission said state’s highest earners, from President Jacob Zuma to kings, judges and members of parliament, should not get salary increases for the next year due to the impact of inflation.
“The proposed zero % adjustment of the salaries of these public office bearers is a suggestion that all citizens should be aware of our economic situation and make sacrifices in order to avoid the economic meltdown,” the commission said in a gazetted notice last Friday.
“It would be inappropriate for the leaders of the country who play a significant role in the management of the economy to receive an increase while many citizens feel the pinch of economic and fiscus down trends,” it added.
President Zuma’s annual pay will remain at almost R2.9-million. His salary was increased by 5% in 2015 as was recommended by the Independent Commission on the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers.
With the pay increase of over R130,000, Zuma now takes just over R2.7 million a year (excluding benefits) – keeping him among the highest paid politicians in the world.
The officials not expected to get even inflation-linked salary increments include ministers and their deputies, premiers, mayors, MECs and members of national and provincial legislatures. While those earning R2.7-million per year including Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete and National Council of Provinces (NCOP) chairperson Thandi Modise, will get the same salary.
The Democratic Alliance leader, Mmusi Maimane, who is also the leader of the opposition in the national assembly, will retain his almost R1.5-million annual pay, while 400 MPs will remain at just over R1-million and so will the 90 NCOP delegates.
The nine premiers will also continue to their R2.1-million, while that of MECs and speakers of legislatures will remain at R1.9-million.
This is apparently the first time the commission has proposed a zero % pay increase. It recommended a sliding scale of increases of between 0% and 7% in 2013.