COSATU’s statement on the recommendations of a 3,8% 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 3,8% salary increase. This disconcerting recommendation should be rejected by President Cyril Ramaphosa and South Africans in general. 

This recommendation is divorced from the real economic crisis experienced by millions of workers and their families every day. Many households continue to struggle to absorb the escalating living costs.

About 15 million people, currently, live below the food poverty line and the unemployment rate is sitting at 42,6%. These are the statistics that should leave the elite of this country ashamed. 

The Political Office Bearers have spectacularly failed in their attempt to use the economy which is based on unrealistic free market economic principles to solve the issue of poverty, unemployment, and income inequality. They have not earned their current salaries, let alone an increase.

Neither should magistrates and judges be mollycoddled; they sided with the government in its decision to abandon a signed wage agreement and impose a painful and callous 0% increase on public servants, who were already drowning in debt in 2020.

South Africa should be talking about increasing funding to the “training of layoff schemes” and increasing wages to motivate workers, including increasing social grants and public employment programs for the unemployed, not increasing the salaries of a political elite who have been cushioned from the hardships of reality for a long time.

We should be filling critical vacancies in our hospitals, schools, police stations and home affairs offices as these provide public services that the nation depends upon.  We should be directing the little resources we have to rebuild the state, investing in quality public services, ensuring that hard-working nurses and police officers and other essential public servants are paid a living wage, not peanuts, and ending the flight of badly needed skills from the public service.

The most unequal country in the world should not be talking about spending money creating more comfort for those at the top when millions of citizens struggle to have three meals a day.

What is needed is a discussion on how the salaries of Political Office Bearers are determined and what is appropriate for a middle-income struggling economy with multiple fiscal crises and a sea of poverty.  This Commission is clueless and oblivious to South African realities.  This discussion needs to include overhauling and discarding the excessive perks in the Ministerial Handbook and what is a more appropriate number of Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Councillors, and other political office bearers that the nation can afford to carry.

Issued by COSATU 

Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)     

Tel: 011 339 4911 

Cell: 060 975 6794