South Africa’s ministers to see major cuts to perks

The Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) says that it is looking to drastically cut the perks available to members of the executive – including ministers and deputy ministers.

Presenting to parliament last week, the DPSA said that the revisions form part of the new ‘Guide for the Members of the Executive’ which replaced the old Ministerial Handbook in June 2019.

“On 16 October 2019, the Guide was presented to Cabinet and a revised document is being finalised for presentation to the President before the end of the week,” it said.

“Once the Guide for Members of the Executive is approved by the President, it will be made publicly available.”

The DPSA said that some of the main areas relating to the review include:

  • Reduced staffing in ministerial offices;
  • The amount that members of the executive are allowed to spend on vehicles (capped at R700,000);
  • All domestic travel will be on economy class tickets;
  • There will no longer be payment for subsistence and travel for both domestic and international trips on these levels;
  • Reduced costs associated with the occupation of State-owned Residences;
  • Reduced security upgrades at private residences;
  • Reduced domestic Services at official residence;
  • A new cell phone dispensation that will cap the amount claimable from the state;
  • Reduced benefits to members upon relinquishing office.

Pay freeze

In his October medium-term budget policy statement, Finance minister Tito Mboweni said government has to significantly reduce expenditure in goods and services as well as transfers if it is to stabilise debt by 2022/23.

In the review accompanying the MTBPS statement, the National Treasury sets out a detailed analysis of spending on public‐sector wages.

It reveals that 29,000 public servants, plus members of the national executive, Members of Parliament, members of the provincial executive, among others, each earned more than R1 million last year.

After adjusting for inflation, the average government wage has risen by 66% in the last ten years, Mboweni said.

In his speech, Mboweni also called for a reduction in Board and Executive Management compensation and benefits.

He said President Cyril Ramaphosa has agreed to guidelines which will apply to members of the Cabinet and members of provincial executives.

These include that, in the foreseeable future, Cabinet, Premiers and MECs’ salaries will be frozen at current levels, with the likelihood of an adjustment downwards.

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South Africa’s ministers to see major cuts to perks