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Taxpayers fork out over R45 billion to pay 37,000 public servants over R1 million each

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Government spent R45.4 billion over the last year on salaries for state employees who each earn over R1 million per annum. This staggering figure was revealed by the Minister of Public Service and Administration, Noxolo Kiviet.

The Minister of Public Service and Administration, Noxolo Kiviet. Picture: Jacques Naude, Independent Newspapers

THE GOVERNMENT spent R45.4 billion over the last year on salaries for over 37,000 state-paid public servants who each earned over R1 million per annum.

This staggering figure was revealed by Public Service and Administration Minister Noxolo Kiviet in a parliamentary reply to the Democratic Alliance’s Leon Schreiber, a member of Parliament responsible for the DA’s Public Service and Administration affairs.

Some of the employees earning over R1 million annually include doctors, school principals, senior management police officials, department heads, directors-generals, directors, chief directors, chief financial officers, and other senior government positions.

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana also said in his Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) that around 55,000 employees – which also includes executives at state-owned entities, municipalities and government agencies – earn over R1 million per year.

Giving an historical picture, Godongwana said that between 2013 and 2014 there were around 10,000 people earning R1 million per year. In 2023 to 2024 there were 55,000 government employees earning above the R1 million figure.

How does this translate to the taxpayer’s wage bill?

According to the government, in the 2013/14 financial year, taxpayers forked out R408 billion on salaries for all employees in the public sector.

In the 2023 to 2024 period, South Africans paid R724 billion towards the entire government employee wage bill.

According to Kiviet, 37,839 government employees at provincial and national departments earn over R1 million per year each.

Kiviet noted:

– Over 28,343 civil servants earned an annual salary of at least R1.08 million.

– A further 6,754 government employees earned around R1.23 million per year.

– Another 1,994 government employees earn over R1.24 million per year.

– A total of 631 government employees earned over R1.74 million annually.

– Finally, over 117 employees earned over R2.16 million per year.

A SALARY INCREASE IN APRIL

Certain government employees will be receiving a 4.7% salary increase in April.

South Africa’s public servants across national and provincial departments will receive a 4.7% salary increase effective April 1, 2024, the department said.

Kiviet said that these wage increases only applied to non-senior management service (SMS) employees who are public servants on salary levels between 1 and 12.

“The decision to implement a 4.7% salary increment reflects the Government’s commitment to fair compensation and the provision of quality public services. The government appreciates the hard work of public servants and will continue to prioritise their well-being,” Kiviet added.

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