Public Service and Administration minister Ayanda Dlodlo has outlined how much government employees earn in South Africa, and the cost of introducing the latest wage increase.
Answering in a written parliamentary Q&A this week, Dlodlo explained that there are currently 16 salary bands across the public service, with employees in band 1 earning an average salary of R103,562.
By comparison, public sector workers in band 16 currently earn an average of over R2.1 million.
Dlodlo also provided a breakdown of how many workers are in each salary band, with the largest number of workers falling between salary bands 5 and 9.
|Salary band||Total number of employees per salary level||Current average salary per salary level|
|2||77 651||R171 278|
|3||69 003||R206 957|
|4||38 663||R247 296|
|5||201 244||R283 227|
|6||129 361||R332 985|
|7||306 703||R411 227|
|8||159 899||R479 868|
|9||99 927||R567 956|
|10||54 510||R710 273|
|11||35 365||R851 022|
|12||27 399||R1 222 246|
|13||7 660||R1 147 609|
|14||2 405||R1 378 620|
|15||528||R1 661 168|
|16||712||R2 130 602|
Data from the 2020 Budget shows that the average government worker remuneration passed R400,000 a year in 2019, with this figure heading towards the R450,000 mark in 2021.
This is not spread equally across all public servants, but there has been a clear trend towards public servants being paid a lot more, in general.
Research conducted by market analytics group Intellidex at the end of 2020 found that using inflation-adjusted income bands, there has been a declining share of government personnel earning less than an inflation-adjusted R20,000 per month – from 85% of staff in 2006/07 to 48% in 2018/19 – and a rising share of staff earning above that figure.
The fastest-growing income band consists of staff earning above an inflation-adjusted monthly salary of R30,000. The number has increased over five-fold in 12 years, it said. There has been a twelvefold increase in staff earning between R30,000 and R40,000 per month, and a five-fold increase in the number of staff making in excess of R60,000 per month.
Intellidex said that the increase in top-earners in the public service had been driven by a dramatic rise in the number of medical professionals – overwhelmingly doctors – rather than ordinary public servants, administrators and policymakers.
By comparison, the average formal sector salary in South Africa is R23,122 a month, including bonuses and overtime, according to Stats SA. Research conducted by the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity group meanwhile, found that 56% of South Africans live on less than R1,300 a month.