Cabinet ministers and the leaders of Parliament who earn more than R1.5 million per year will get 0% salary increases in 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa decreed on Friday, while lower-paid office bearers will see increases of around 2.8%.
The pay for top officials is set via a process that includes an Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers, which runs a consultation process and analyses economic factors – but the decision ultimately rests with the President.
And this year Ramaphosa threw out the recommendation of that commission, made public earlier this month, that the government’s top earners should get 3% increases, and that lower-paid officials should get 4%.
Ramaphosa’s decision means that salaries for the likes of deputy president David Mabuza and National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise have been frozen at R2.8 million, rather than increasing to R2.9 million as the commission had recommended.
Lower down the ladder, chairpersons of committees in Parliament will see their salaries increase to just under R1.5 million, but they will be earning some R18,000 per year less than would have been the case in terms of the commission recommendation.
Ramaphosa does not provide formal reasons for his decision, but his administration is expected to announce new or higher taxes next week as it struggles with a huge revenue shortfall
South Africa’s minimum wage will increase by 3.8% in March, a month before the new ministerial and parliamentary salaries kick in, to a general rate of R20.76 per hour.