Former EFF MP and party secretary Godrich Gardee put his foot in his mouth when he tweeted that the earnings of MPs “are so disgusting that they cannot afford to send their kids to universities”.

I have news for him. Millions of South Africans who earn way less than him make huge sacrifices so their children can study at tertiary institutions.

The next time Gardee talks of the “meagre” salaries of MPs he should remember that he is among the top 1% of earners in SA. An ordinary MP earns R1.34m a year.

In addition to this excessive salary, MPs receive lucrative perks in the form of free air travel for themselves and family members; nominal rent (R400 a month) in luxurious parliamentary villages in Cape Town; the best medical aid money can buy; and a pension fund that guarantees them a salary for life.

Citizens are expressing their anger and revulsion at the abuse by MPs of their taxpayer monies. This is far worse than corruption because it is a form of legalised theft. They decide their own salaries by appointing committees that make the determinations. These committees are not independent and do not represent MPs’ employer — we, the taxpayers.

More than 50% of South Africans live below the poverty line. How many of them would give anything to earn the salary of an MP, whose job has no key performance indicators, no minimum working hours and is generally not subject to the stringent requirements of other jobs. There are no minimum educational qualifications and many do not even possess a matric.

It is time South Africans united and demanded a say in what their MPs earn. Perhaps if we got involved we will have a more efficiently run parliament and a better country to live in.

Visvin Reddy
Activists Movement of SA

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