Parties at loggerheads over Zuma salary increase

BY CHARL BOSCH - MARCH 11, 2016

The National Assembly has approved a 4.4% salary increase for President Jacob Zuma, following a 172 vs 81 vote in Parliament on Thursday.

According to reports, the adjustment, which comes after the Independent Commission on the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers announced in November last year that Zuma would receive a five percent hike, will see the President’s salary increase by over R100 000 to R2.8-million for the 2015 / 2016 financial year.

“Since taking office in 2009, the President has acted with sensitivity for the country’s economic climate and our people’s socio-economic conditions, and has on many occasions turned down the Commission's recommended increases that are above the prevailing inflation rate,” ANC spokesperson Moloto Mathapo said in a statement.

“The President has led by example over the years by showing sensitivity to our people’s economic conditions. None of the opposition MPs who annually abuse Parliament’s consideration of his salary increases for narrow political posturing, had the courage to emulate him by opting for a lower or no salary increase”.

Reactions from opposition parties have been mixed with the Inkhata Freedom Party (IFP), United Democratic Movement (UDM), National Freedom Party (NFP) and Agang allegedly branding other parties “hypocritical” for not supporting the decision.

“With Nkandla the President of the Republic of South Africa drove over us all with a bus. In December last year, he put the bus in reverse and reversed over all of us including his own ANC caucus... he then crashes the bus and comes cap in hand to the taxpayers of South Africa and says ‘I've done a great job, give me a raise,” DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen was quoted by Eyewitness News as saying.

The increase was also slammed by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) and Congress of the People (Cope) with the latter’s spokesperson, Dennis Bloem, describing the adjustment as “shameful” and “greedy”.

“Six million taxpayers cannot sustain a government that is so big and so expensive. It is shameful that 172 MPs voted for the increase and left 81 of us to oppose that increase,” he said in a statement.

“To fund the increases the government will have to borrow. It is spending money on itself that it doesn’t have. This is indeed unconscionable and very shameful”.