Public service ministry reveals mammoth government wage bill

01 October 2021 - 15:22
Public servant salaries cost taxpayers more than R549bn every year. Stock photo.
Public servant salaries cost taxpayers more than R549bn every year. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/ANDRIY POPOV

The government will spend more than R549bn annually on public servant salaries.

This was revealed by the public service and administration department in a written reply to parliamentary questions posed by the DA.

The opposition party asked for a detailed breakdown of the current average salary for the 16 government salary bands and the number of employees in each category.

It also asked for the total amount that will be spent annually in terms of the latest public service wage agreement on paying public servant salaries in each of the 16 salary bands, as well as what the “total amount of that amount that will be spent annually on employees in each specified salary band”.

According to a Sunday Times report, government and public sector unions reached a wage deal in July that includes a 1.5% pay progression for all qualifying civil servants, and a one-off allowance backdated to April ranging between R1,200 and R1,700 for all civil servants.

The department, in its reply, said 1,238,716 people were employed across the 16 salary bands.

It said the “latest wage agreement is Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council Resolution 1 of 2021”.

It provided a table “reflecting the total cost of implementing the resolution per salary level” which amounted to more than R23bn for employees in salary bands one to 12.

The department said no decision had been taken yet regarding “possible salary adjustments” for senior management, who fall in salary bands 13 to 16.

It said the estimated total cost of employment, including the cost of Resolution 1, per salary level annually amounted to just over R549.2bn.

The department said the information provided “represents the situation as at July 31” and was obtained from the National Treasury Personnel and Salary System (Persal) database.

“The information excludes defence and the State Security Agency,” it added.

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