President Jacob Zuma has taken everyone by surprise. This time, he has topped government official’s salaries with the exception of magistrates and certain category of traditional leaders by 4.4 percent, compared with inflation of more than 6 percent in South Africa’s economy.
National office bearers include the deputy president, ministers, deputy ministers members of Parliament, Constitutional Court and other judges. The increment is expected to be effected by April 1.
The statement reveals that special grade chief magistrate and chief magistrate’s salaries will increase by 5.5 percent. Salary increases for senior magistrate, magistrate, national and provincial traditional leaders will be by 6 percent while senior traditional leader’s salaries will increased by 8 percent
President Zuma made the announcement ahead of this year’s Budget, presenting it as a cost cutting measure. It was contained in a presidential statement.
“President Jacob Zuma has decided upon a below inflation increase of 4.4 percent for political office bearers nationally and in the provinces for 2015/16, the outgoing financial year, in line with the current economic climate,” the statement said.
Furthermore, the presidential statement indicated that President Jacob Zuma made the decision after considering the recommendations of the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers, and the degenerating economic climate, inflationary increases and the current principles and level of remuneration in the society.
Also,uniform norms and standards among other things were considered by the president. Reports said that the Independent Commission had earlier recommended a five percent additional pay for public office bearers.
The announcement comes just as Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan is about to present his #Budget2016 speech. Meanwhile, Gordhan will present the national budget to Parliament Wednesday afternoon, under the scowl of an economic downturn and a possible downgrade.
The Finance Minister is expected to implement austerity measures, as presented by President Jacob Zuma in his State of the Nation Address, in an effort to prevent this.
Gordhan, was reappointed South Africa’s finance minister in December after Nhlanhla Nene’s controversial removal. In the mean time, Efficient Group economist Dawie Roodt said, the finance minister is expected to make some paramount and gigantic decisions in this budget.
“These big decisions are, basically, about two things – where can cut spending and where can he get in additional revenue,” Roodt said.
Also, chairperson of the Finance Committee, Yunus Carrim, anticipates that Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan would present a balanced budget that is pro-poor but also slashing unnecessary expenditure.
Carrim asserted that South Africa is in a better condition compared to countries like Russia and Brazil in recession.