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As much as R3-billion could be shaved off the public sector wage bill if a department such as the Department of Women were to be dissolved, a senior National Treasury official said. The department is one of several added by the Zuma administration, lifting the number of departments above 30 and making South Africa's public sector wage bill among the highest for a developing country. Public sector consolidated compensation is forecast to expand by 7.3% over the next three years. Together, the wage bill and debt costs are projected to constitute 45.9% of the state's total expenditure in the medium term, crowding out capital investment. Salaries constitute 35% of government expenditure. Ian Stuart, acting head of budget at the National Treasury, said a new wage agreement was being negotiated. Adjustment for the cost of living would be a major driver and the wage hike was expected to be in line with inflation. "This will make it difficult for departments to meet their compensation ceili...

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