Cosatu: Cut politicians' salaries instead of freezing public servants' increases

Cosatu on Friday commented on the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) submissions.

FILE: Striking Cosatu members in Pretoria on 7 October 2020. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Trade unions have called on National Treasury to cut the salaries of ministers and senior officials instead of freezing increases for police officers and teachers.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) on Friday commented on the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) submissions.

Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance and the Select Committee on Finance from the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) heard responses from Treasury to the public submissions on the MTBPS.

National treasury received a number of submissions on the MTBPS from health organisations, trade unions, and civil society.

They commented mainly on economic growth reform, spending reductions in service delivery, and a pay freeze for public servants.

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On the wage issue, Cosatu's parliamentary co-ordinator, Mathew Parks, said the government should rather target higher earners like ministers and senior officials.

“If think that if this government is serious and wants to create political capital, they should immediately cut what ministers, MECs, premiers, and mayors earn. They need to implement a public service cap on what management can earn at state-owned entities where they have huge wages for them,” he said.

But Treasury official Edgar Sishi said public servants were overpaid.

“The remuneration for public servants tends to be higher now than it is in the private sector. Some data shows, for instance, starting salaries in the public sector are higher than starting salaries in the private sector. More than 95% of public servants now earn more than 150% of all the registered taxpayers in this country.”

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