Malusi Gigaba.    Picture: GETTY IMAGES
Malusi Gigaba. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba supported the recommendations of the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers to raise the salaries of ministers and MPs, said the commission’s head of secretariat, Peter Makapan.

Salary increases of 4% for the national executive and deputy ministers and 4.5% for MPs, MPLs and traditional leaders were proposed in a memorandum that was gazetted in October and sent to President Jacob Zuma for approval.

Makapan said the commission had considered the state of the economy before issuing the inflation-targeted increases in terms of which Zuma’s salary will rise to almost R3m from more than R2.8m. Gigaba had not raised the matter of SA’s R50.8bn tax revenue shortfall in consultations, he said.

Mayihlome Tshwete, Gigaba’s spokesman, did not respond to requests for comment.

Makapan said the finance minister had made some inputs, including on percentages.

Gigaba’s medium-term budget policy statement noted rising pressure in public finances including the wage bill. Public office bearers’ wage bill stood at R12.2bn a year.

Although Zuma approved the commission’s recommendation in 2016 not to raise salaries, Makapan said the 0% scenario was not an option for 2017-18.

He said one of the many negative consequences of a salary freeze was that the salaries of "principals" would fall behind those of their agents.

Senior managers including directors-general, received a cost-of-living adjustment of 5.5% backdated to April.

Makapan said a salary freeze would mean top leaders and professionals would avoid public office "where they are needed most" as their salaries would become uncompetitive compared with the general public service and the private sector.

mahlakoanat@businesslive.co.za

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