COSATU demands the scrapping of the vulgar and tone-deaf perks for cabinet members

The Congress of South African Trade Unions is shocked by the reports that shows that taxpayers pay for water and electricity used by members of the cabinet. This is shameful and scandalous considering that millions of poor people in South Africa are struggling with the escalating cost of living. 

It is extremely insensitive for this administration to cushion off the members of the executive, while imposing extreme sacrifices on the workers and the unemployed. Budget cuts have collapsed service delivery and government is currently offering workers a well below the inflation rate salary adjustment. Which basically mean that in real terms public sectors are earning year on year less than the previous period, in the midst of austerity, unfunded mandates and understaffing in the public service.

This comes after the same government denied public servants their due increase in 2020, it has left many municipal workers unpaid, and continues to retrench in many SOE workers. 

 These are the same people who have mismanaged the power utility to the ground over the past sixteen years, and this has seen consumers being subjected to continuous double digit and above inflation electricity tariffs hikes. This is the very same executive that has mismanaged the water crises in South Africa leading to water shedding and water restrictions.

The government also increased VAT not long ago and has resisted attempts to introduce a Basic Income Grant. 

South African cabinet members are amongst the highest paid in the world and they lead one of the most unequal countries with some of the poorest people in the world. More than sixteen (16) million South Africans struggle to have three meals a day and twenty-two (22) million of them are on social welfare.

The last Oxfam International Inequality Report revealed that the rich are getting richer, in South Africa, while the poor are sinking further and further into the cesspool of poverty. The World Bank has declared South Africa the most unequal country in the entire world with more than half of the South African population living in poverty.

The same politicians who are being cushioned off from the cost of living are persisting with ineffectual Neoliberal policies and budget cuts that are driving down standards of living and destroying the livelihoods of millions of people throughout the country. 

These revelations will only serve to harden attitudes of workers during this year’s round of wage negotiations.

The Federation is calling for the scrapping of these vulgar and tone-deaf perks for cabinet members and for an overhaul of the ministerial handbook that is out of touch with the reality of many South Africans. In addition, this is a perfect time for the nation to demand the capping of executive pay to reduce the gap between the highest and the lowest paid. Wage inequality remains the main driver of overall inequality and the ways to curbs high inequality is to close the gaps between the highest paid and the lowest paid.

Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)

Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080

Cell: 060 975 6794