South Africa’s 816 millionaire police bosses

 ·10 Jul 2024

There are an estimated 816 employees in the South African Police Service (SAPS), including the minister of police and the deputy minister, who earn between R1.1 million and R2.7 million.

This was revealed in the SAPS’ latest annual report for the full year 2023, detailing the breakdown of the number of employees earning in the designated governmental salary bands (levels 1 to 16).

SAPS employees work across a range of sectors, including administration, visible policing, and crime intelligence. Salaries average R299,000 for the lowest skill level (1-2).

This works out to roughly R24,916 per month. Salaries include base salary, bonuses, allowances, and overtime pay.

However, employee compensation across all levels in the SAPS is R450,000 or R37,500 per month.

This means, on average, a SAPS member is paid over R10,000 more monthly than the average formally employed non-agricultural worker, which is R26,791 as of the first quarter of 2024.

Some justify this considering the level of danger that comes with the job, especially in a country like South Africa, which is often ranked among the most dangerous countries in the world.

However, this above-average pay is partly skewed by those who earn over R1 million per annum.

According to the report, approximately 816 ‘senior management and executive authority’ employees earn salaries between levels 13 and 16.

These top officials earn a base salary of R1.17 million, with the average compensation per employee reaching R1.43 million—including bonuses, allowances, and overtime pay.

This makes these SAPS members bona fide millionaires, working out to R119,200 per month.

The ranks within the SAPS that qualify for such pay and an estimate of how many employees hold these ranks include:

  • National Commissioner (1)
  • Deputy National Commissioners (Lieutenant General) (4)
  • National Head and other top management (Lieutenant General) (12)
  • Provincial Commissioners (Lieutenant General) (9)
  • Major Generals (154)
  • Brigadiers (623)

Included among these ranks is the Minister of Police and Deputy Ministers, which, as of 30 June 2024, are Senzo Mchunu as the minister (replacing Bheki Cele) and both Polly Boshielo and Cassel Mathale as deputies.

The newly appointed Minister of Police is Senzo Mchunu.

As of 1 April 2024, Mchunu will be paid R2.69 million a year from R2.64 million before, while his deputies will earn R2.22 million, up from the R2.16 million they earned in 2023.

This equates to R224,200 per month for Mchunu and R180,000 each for Boshielo and Mathale.

The salary hikes for Cabinet ministers are seen as especially unfair, as these millionaires also receive a wide range of tax-free benefits and perks, all funded by the South African taxpayer.

This includes vehicles, homes, and billions of rands spent on private VIP security, all while many of their areas of responsibility struggle or underperform.

Overall, the report shows that the department had a fixed establishment of 179,502 employees over the reporting period, an increase of 4,272 employees compared to the previous year.

This figure includes both active police officers and administrative staff, as follows:

  • 20,547 commissioned officers;
  • 123,896 non-commissioned officers;
  • 34,226 Public Service Act employees.

The slight increase in employment figures effectively gives South Africa a police-to-population ratio of 1:417.

The generally accepted benchmark is one police officer to 450 people. However, this ratio has increased significantly over the last five years.

In 2014/15, the police-to-population ratio was one police member to 358 citizens (1:358).

Despite a large number of millionaire officers, the SAPS has long argued that its annual budget allocation is too small.

This results in poor service, crumbling and ill-maintained police stations and infrastructure, and little means to add police officers on the ground.

The SAPS highlighted once more in its annual report, noting that the service had not been exempted from the National Treasury’s budget cuts on employee compensation, and its establishment was progressively decreasing annually.

The SAPS warned that this would have a significant negative impact on its ability to attract, recruit and retain the best personnel.

Read: Trouble for new driving licences in South Africa

Show comments
Subscribe to our daily newsletter