Finance minister Tito Mboweni’s intention to trim the public sector wage bill was on full display in his spending plans for peace and security in the 2021/2022 budget.He is pruning the compensation of employees by nearly R65bn over the next three years. This is likely to rile organised labour, who are at odds with Mboweni over his trimming of the wage bill. The reduction affects civil servants in the police service, defence, law courts, prisons and even home affairs."Most departments in this function are labour intensive, which means that spending reductions primarily affect personnel," says the Budget Review.Salaries and wages account for more than two-thirds of spending as a whole and these departments now have to find ways of reducing personnel, without compromising frontline services and operations.It is all part of the difficult balancing act the National Treasury has to perform with its limited means, says Citadel economist Maarten Ackerman.Reprioritising the budget, he adds, ...

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