The South African Parliament has defended the decision of President Cyril Ramaphosa to raise salaries of public officials by 3%.
The President, acting on a recommendation by the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office-Bearers released a gazette that revealed an increase in salaries to the President, Vice President, Ministers, Members of Parliament, the opposition leaders and other key office holders.
South Africa’s labour union has described the decision as “tone deaf” and a snub to the struggles of the average national.
The Parliament has however fired back and said the last time public officials got a raise was in 2019, and should be getting more with new realities in consideration.
“While it is understandable that remuneration of public representatives would often spark a public debate given the transparency with which they are processed, constant scrutiny over their work as well as the socioeconomic challenges faced by the country, it must be appreciated that they do not determine their own remuneration,” Moloto Mothapo said.
“Unlike in other countries, MPs do not play any role in the process of determining either their salaries or annual increments.”
He said South African public office holders especially MPs do not get higher salaries than their counterparts in nations with equal GDPs.
“A desktop survey suggests that SA public representatives do not earn anywhere higher than those of countries with similar GDP and population, among other considerations.
“It is also worth noting that, as an additional safeguard, unlike in several other countries, SA MPs are barred from undertaking any other remunerative responsibilities outside their parliamentary work. Should they take up such work, they are obligated to declare it for scrutiny in terms of the ethics code,” he said.
“For example, if an ordinary MP earns say R1.1m per annum, that includes the basic salary, a flexible portion, a travel allowance, a political office-bearers’ allowance, and a contribution to the pension fund.
“Other deductions that will be taken from the salary includes tax (Pay as You Earn), medical aid, party contributions, village accommodation and others authorised by the individual MP like a bond or car instalment,”
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