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Double-standards Democracy

  • South Africa is a democracy according to popular belief.
  • We have a constitution which makes all peoples of South Africa equal.

Why then are there so many double standards?

Government Ministers getting greater % pay increases whilst government workers get less. This discrepancy gets even bigger when you consider what this means in terms of disposable income and fixed living costs.

What do I mean?

1. Well what would you rather have 10% of R5,000 or 10% of R20,000? The ministers equivalent salary increase is definitely measurable.

2. Overall living costs could be considered equivalent, especially if ministers are living their talk and democracy is King.

Lets say a government worker is making R6,000 and a minister R16,000. I have no idea of these numbers relevance, I will see if I can discover actual numbers, I do however expect that the discrepancy is greater than this.

[In terms of the 6% offer, the basic income of the lowest level worker was R35 916 a year but with added benefits including medical aid, pension and housing allowance as well as service bonuses, the total package was R71 850 a year.]

Now for arguments sake lets say that the expenses of both is around R4,000 monthly. Some of these are equivalent fixed costs, electricity & water, food.

This is not even getting into the “perks” that Government Ministers enjoy over their lowlier workers.

Where is the transparency? Tell the whole story and let the people make up their own minds.

What are the Ministers paying themselves? So called public servants with hidden agendas and salaries and with perks paid for by you and I.

A public servant at Level 1, the entry point, earns about R2900 a month, just less than R35000 a year. For many employees, their wages are hardly enough to afford them a decent standard of life given the rapidly rising cost of living.

At the end of last year , the yearly rate of inflation, known as the Consumer Price Index, stood at 4,6percent. But the average rate of inflation on food stood at 8,1percent with the cost of meat rising by 17,8percent.

Similar increases were recorded in the cost of non-food items such as fuel and power, education, and health and medical care. The majority of workers spend well over half of their income on food and other basic necessities, and this is where inflation hits hardest.

A 6,5percent salary increase means that the basic wage of the first tier of public servants will rise by a mere R174 a month to R3074. Contrast this pay with the monthly remuneration of a director-general at about R67000, and with the recent proposals made that President Thabo Mbeki’s monthly salary of R92000 be increased by 57percent, while salaries of ministers and their deputies, premiers, mayors and also judges be raised by about 20percent.

MPs were aghast at the recommendation of a “paltry” 5,4percent increase for them. From whatever angle one looks at it, a 6,5percent salary increase will hardly lift public servants from the onslaught of soaring food prices and the ever-rising cost of basic commodities.

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