Treasury defends decision to freeze increases for public sector

The public wage bill again came under the spotlight in Parliament on Friday.

Cosatu President Zingiswa Losi leads the march to Treasury in Pretoria for the national strike on 7 October 2020. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Treasury on Friday said that public servants were some of the biggest earners.

Officials said this justified a freeze on increases for the public sector as announced in the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS).

They responded to various public submissions on the MTBPS where the public wage bill again came under the spotlight in Parliament.

Treasury says the trends have gone up and shifted from when public servants received an increase that was less than the country’s economic growth.

Deputy Director General Edgar Sishi told the finance committees of both Houses of Parliament this has been happening for a very long time.

“Public servants have been for many years receiving increases that have outstripped the overall growth of the economy; indeed they have received increases that have outstripped the overall increase in prices in the economy.”

He also flagged the country’s growing debt service cost.

“South Africa’s debt service costs have had a major crowding out effect and continue to do so on important social spending economic investment of the government. Debt service costs are approaching 5% of GDP.”

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