The proposed salary and benefits increases were recently published in the Government Gazette.
The commission said it consulted with finance minister Enoch Godongwana, co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, and the office of the chief justice before making the proposals.
The commission is responsible for making recommendations regarding the salaries and benefits of the president, deputy president, ministers, deputy ministers, premiers, MPs, justices, judges, magistrates and other senior government officials.
The salary increases are not final and will need to be approved by President Cyril Ramaphosa, whose salary is approved by parliament.
How much will officials possibly earn?
Ramaphosa’s annual salary and benefits would increase from R2,989,845 to R3,079,540 should the 3% increase be approved.
The proposed salary for deputy president David Mabuza is R2,910,234, up from 2,825,470.
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The commission also proposed an increase for leaders of opposition parties in parliament.
DA leader John Steenhuisen, as the leader of the official opposition, would receive an increase to R1,648,481 from R1,600,467.
EFF leader Julius Malema and other leaders of minority parties would receive an increase to R1,386,619 from R1,346,232.
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How do stakeholders feel about the proposed increases?
In reply to the commission, Godongwana suggested a 0% salary increase for all categories or only an increase for lower-level officials.
“However, the minister cautioned that retaining salaries of the lower end, such as MPs, MPLs and senior managers at zero percent for extended periods of time, may not be sustainable as it would have a negative impact on pensionable emoluments and possibly impact on morale,” read the commission’s note.
Dlamini-Zuma recommended an urgent full-scale benchmark of local government officials be conducted to align the salaries, allowances and benefits.
“The minister requested that the commission consider investigating the actual cost of compensation for municipalities and affordability, as most of them are financially distressed,” said the commission.
Other stakeholders, including Mostoaledi, did not make any inputs or respond to the proposal.
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‘Tone-deaf and embarrassing recommendation’
The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) slammed the proposed salary increases, saying these should be rejected by Ramaphosa and South Africans in general.
“This is a tone-deaf and embarrassing recommendation,” said the trade union.
“The SA working class is facing mounting social challenges and it’s about time political leaders show some solidarity with the suffering masses.
“Load-shedding, the rising cost of living, corruption and a stagnant economy have all happened under the watch and leadership of all political office bearers. They do not deserve the packages they currently earn let alone an increase in their salaries.”
Cosatu said it was hypocritical to recommend that MPs be afforded a 3% increase to avoid them “becoming demoralised”, while no compunction has been shown for imposing wage freezes on nurses and doctors working 48-hour shifts and police officers.
“The elite of this country are ganging up and declaring a class war against taxpayers and the poor. The huge salaries and benefits paid to political office bearers and senior bureaucrats are the source of existing inequalities and unacceptable income disparities that exist in the public service.
“It is about time the terms of reference of this commission are extended to require it to consult with the public and not only members of cabinet, who have a direct conflict of interest in its recommendations,” said Cosatu.