South Africa’s cabinet wage bill at all time high

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An Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers is awaiting Jacob Zuma’s approval after recommending that South African Vice president Kgalema Motlanthe’s salary should be the same as that of the president.

Judge Willie Seriti’s commission which determines salaries of public office-bearers, such as politicians and judges, has recommended a 7% pay hike for all public office-bearers, reports indicate.

This means Zuma will now get a pay package of just over R2.4-million, if he approves the commission’s recommendations. Deputy president’s salary package could rise to just over R2.1-million but Motlanthe is likely to get the same salary as Zuma because of his erstwhile position as president of the republic.

Judge Seriti said this was because Motlanthe was legally entitled to his presidential pension – which is an equivalent of the pay a sitting president gets – from the day after he had left office.

“The commission recommends that the current deputy president shall receive the pension benefits of a former president only and no salary for his services as deputy president, except those benefits and privileges which are necessary to carry out his functions,” Seriti is quoted saying.

Motlanthe, once served as president following the forced resignation of Thabo Mbeki. At that time he was regarded as caretaker president.
Motlanthe, a left-leaning intellectual, is seen as a highly skilled political operator within the politics of South Africa, and a key figure behind the success of Jacob Zuma.

Zuma, whose cabinet wage bill is set to increase to an estimated R118 million after a recent reshuffle, succeeded Monlanthe on 9 May 2009 in a presidential election held by the South African National Assembly, following the 2009 general election which had been won by the ANC.

Zuma added four new deputy ministers to the executive, making his government of 32 deputies and 34 ministers the largest in South Africa’s recent history, and increasing the total salary bill of deputy ministers from R43 million to R49 million. Former president Nelson Mandela had 28 ministers and 12 deputies. His predecessor, Thabo Mbeki, had 28 ministers and 21 deputies.

The commission also recommended that the current speaker of the National Assembly be paid R2 171 356 while the deputy speakers gross salary package would be R1 519 923.

An ordinary Member of Parliament can expect to be paid R818 166, while
the deputy chief whip of both the ruling ANC and the chief whip of official opposition, the Democratic Alliance can expect to earn R977 148 each, reports say.

Reports say ministers will rake in R1.8-million, while their deputies will get R1.5-million. The chief justice’s pay packages will go over R2.1-million, while
judge-presidents will get R1.6-million.

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