COSATU statement on the recommendations of a 3% salary increase for Political Office Bearers

 The Congress of South African Trade Unions has noted with disappointment the recommendations submitted by the Independent Commission on the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers that all Political Office Bearers should get a 3% salary increase. This is a tone deaf and embarrassing recommendation that should be rejected by President Cyril Ramaphosa and South Africans in general.  

The World Bank recently released a report that shows that South Africa is the most unequal country in the world, and Statistics South Africa has released its own report that shows that real unemployment in the country is close to 50%.  The South African working class is facing mounting social challenges and it’s about time that 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.  

The South African judges at all levels and all the way to the Constitutional Court have rejected the case of public service workers who wanted government to pay them the money that was due to them from the third leg of a three-year agreement Resolution 1 of 2018. It is obvious now that the judges wanted this money for themselves when they supported the government’s prejudicial decision to renege on implementing that agreement. The government and the judiciary are engaged in a cynical alliance that is about maintaining the status quo and crushing the poor. 

It is hypocritical for Treasury to recommend to the Commission that Members of Parliament be afforded a 3% increase to avoid them “becoming demoralised”, whilst it has shown no compunction for imposing wage freezes on nurses and doctors working 48-hour shifts or police officers who on average lose at least member weekly to criminal attacks.  

The elite of this country is ganging up and declaring a class war against the taxpayers and the poor. The huge salaries and benefits that are paid to political office bearers and senior bureaucrats are the source of the existing inequalities and unacceptable income disparities that currently exist in the public service.  

The lowly public servants like police officers, nurses and teachers will have to work for nine {9} years before earning an annual salary of a director-general of a judge.  

It is about time that 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. 

Issued by COSATU 

Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)     

Tel: 011 339 4911 

Cell: 060 975 6794