'Civil service eats up 88% of budget'

29 November 2012 - 02:34 By Sapa
Cash. File photo.
Cash. File photo.
Image: Reuben Goldberg

The government has misled South Africans about how much of the national budget is spent on the salaries of civil servants, Prophet Analytics claimed yester day.

"The government is wrong when it states that only 35% of the annual budget is spent on wages. The true figure is 88%," analyst Peter Aling said. The government had also misled analysts by appearing to agree to 5.4% wage increases for civil servants, he said.

This was according to Prophet Analytics' fourth-quarter 2012 Labour Market Navigator Report.

The report also showed a sharp rise in the number of black civil servants, and the salaries they earned.

In the past 10 years, the number of black civil servants had increased from 42% to 74%, and nearly 40% of South Africa's highest-earning blacks were now government employees. Aling attributed sharp rises in black civil servants' salaries to "managerial bloat", claiming the government used promotion and job regrading to increase their incomes.

"This results in the average remuneration for public sector workers now [being] 32% higher than that of private sector workers."

If historical rates of progression were maintained, 5.1 million black people would be earning more than the average white person in private business by 2020, he said. Racial income disparities were steadily, if slowly, closing.

"This is apparent from current census results showing that black incomes grew 10.4% per annum between the censuses, compared to the 6.5% growth in white incomes."

Measures to speed up this process included improving the education system and reviewing labour laws, Aling said.

The National Treasury could not immediately be reached for comment.