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The public protector earns as much as a judge‚ but will this change?

12 August 2016 - 02:00 By Roxanne Henderson

Thuli Madonsela earns as much as a judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal‚ but there is no saying whether this will change for her successor.

This week the National Assembly interviewed short-listed candidates for the post.

Though there has been talk in recent years that Madonsela's successor may have to take a pay cut‚ Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Glynnis Breytenbach said on Friday that the National Assembly's portfolio committee on justice and correctional services had not discussed the matter since she had joined.

"I'm not aware of it‚" she said.

The chairperson of the committee in 2012‚ Luwellyn Landers‚ had said that Madonsela's salary could not be altered while she was in office‚ but that the salary of her successor may be reduced.

This followed Madonsela's appeals for more money to run her office.

The communication manager in the Office of the Public Protector‚ Oupa Segalwe‚ said Madonsela's earnings are on par with what a Supreme Court of Appeal judge who receives a total remuneration package of R2‚173‚470 a year.

The Public Protector Act‚ however‚ states that the Public Protector's salary should not dip below the earnings of a high court judge - R1‚765‚934 annually. No maximum salary is specified.

According to a Mail & Guardian report in 2012‚ Landers told MPs: “I would like you to think whether the Act may need to be amended. The question is should there be a ceiling or a cap?"

The committee's current chairperson‚ Mathole Motshekga‚ could not be reached on Friday afternoon for comment.

The executive secretary of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution‚ Lawson Naidoo‚ said that for a change to be made‚ “one would need to go back and look at how the salary progressed through the years.”

He said that if the salary was reduced it would be anomalous.

“If it's a part of a broader cutting of costs I'm sure it would be welcomed. If it's the Office of the Public Protector being singled out‚ there would definitely be a perception that it's a vindictive move.”

- TMG Digital