26 September 2023

SOUTH AFRICA: Bonuses soar amid financial crisis

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Bonuses paid to South African Public Servants rose by more than 70 per cent in the past financial year despite the country battling worsening levels of debt, low growth and downgrades by two major ratings Agencies.

Of the R2.6 billion ($A260 million) paid out in the 2018-19 financial year, R629 million ($A62.7 million) was spent by national Departments and about R2 billion ($A200 million) by Provincial Governments.

This compares with R1.5 billion ($A150 million) spent in 2017-18.

Minister for Finance, Tito Mboweni has highlighted the need for a reduction in the growth of the wage bill, which consumes about 35 per cent of the national budget.

Credit ratings agency, Moody’s Investors Service is giving the Government three months – until the February Budget – to put together plans to implement its fiscal consolidation targets.

The ratings agency recently cut the country’s financial outlook rating from ‘stable’ to ‘negative’.

Opposition Spokesperson on Public Service and Administration, Leon Schreiber said the figures were “a clear demonstration that the Government rewards incompetence and corruption”.

“Officials working in dozens of Government Departments that received adverse audit outcomes still get hundreds of millions of rand in bonuses,” Mr Schreiber said.

However, Mr Mboweni insisted performance bonuses were awarded to eligible employees “who receive a performance rating significantly above expectation”.

Mr Schreiber noted that while it spent billions on bonuses, Mr Mboweni had announced the Government had cut R50 million ($A5 million) from cervical cancer treatment and R40 million ($A4 million from a program to eradicate pit latrines.

Deputy General Manager of the Public Servants’ Association, Tahir Maepa (pictured) dismissed Mr Schreiber’s objections to performance bonuses as “nonsensical”, saying the party was not in government and should “stay in its lane”.

“The amount paid on performance bonuses to high performers among all Public Servants, from cleaners to senior managers, is so small compared with the total public sector wage bill of about R627 billion ($A62.5 billion) that it is not worth talking about,” Mr Maepa said.

Pretoria, 19 November 2019

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