COSATU statement on the 3% salary increase for Public Office Bearers and Judges

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has noted with grave disappointment the decision by the President Cyril Ramaphosa to that all Public Office Bearers and Judges will receive a 3% salary increase. This is a tone deaf and embarrassing decision that should have been rejected by President Cyril Ramaphosa.  What is most galling is the President chose to ignore the recommendation by Treasury for a 1.5% increase for political office bearers and judges and instead opted to increase it to 3%. 

World Bank reports that show that South Africa remains the most unequal country in the world, and South Africa continues to be burdened with an unemployment rate of 42.6% and rising.  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 political office bearers. They do not deserve the packages they currently earn let alone an increase in their salaries.  

Judges all the way to the Constitutional Court 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. Yet the judiciary expects increases for itself citing the rising costs of living whilst it thought little of dismissing the same rationale for poorly paid cleaners, teachers, security guards and other public servants. 

It is hypocritical for government to implement a 3% increase for political office bearers and judges to avoid them “becoming demoralised”, whilst it has shown little compunction for imposing wage freezes and below CPI increases on police nurses and doctors working 48-hour shifts or police officers who on average lose at least member weekly to criminal attacks.  

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 the Independent Commission Remuneration on Public Office Bearers be 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 

For further information please contact:

Matthew Parks
Parliamentary Coordinator
Cell: 082 785 0687