NEHAWU is appalled by the reports that the salaries of public officials are likely to be increased by 5, 5% for the 2012-2013 financial year. This comes at a time when public sectors all over the country are frustrated by government’s failure to conclude this year’s wage negotiations. This is the most blatant display of conceit and total disregard for the plight of the poor that has been displayed by the Independent Commission for Remuneration of Public Office Bearers so far.
We are calling on the president of the country, Mr Jacob Zuma, to reject this absurd and crude proposal by the commission and put a moratorium on salary increases of all public office bearers in order to address the unacceptable income disparities that exist in the public service.
Our country is struggling with the triple crisis of unemployment, poverty and inequality; yet we have a commission that suggests that more resources be diverted to the already obscenely remunerated public officials and judges. These huge salaries and benefits are the source of the huge wage gap that exist between the poor and the rich and it is disturbing to see that people look at the public purse and see a pot of gold to be looted.
The commission absurdly recommends that councillors need an increase because “the public purse did not cover insurance for the houses and vehicles of councillors”. They use the flawed logic that in order to cure the social ills, community frustrations and possibly incompetence and corruption more money should be thrown to the councilors.Violent service delivery protests should be condemned but the logic that in order to resolve them government should take money from public service programs and pay the councillors extra money is nonsensical.
This irrationality is followed by the possibility of the Magistrates Commission’s probable objection against the proposal in demand for more money that the planned 5, 5% increase. All of this farce is happening at a time when poorly paid public servants and unemployed South Africans are struggling to afford basic necessities and are protesting for basic service delivery.
What is even more disturbing is the fact that most of these political leaders and senior managers are not exemplary models of efficiency and excellence when it comes to executing their mandates as revealed by the Auditor General’s reports and population dissatisfaction.
We challenge the political leaders to explain and convince the overworked and poorly public servants; why they should moderate their salary increase demands in the light of this proposal. This hypocrisy and double standards is slowly but surely eroding the trust that the workers and poor have on government and its pledges about poverty alleviation.
This is going to do nothing but lengthen the apartheid engineered wage gap between the rich and the poor in this country.NEHAWU is waiting with anticipation the Treasury’s response to this proposal by the remuneration commission and we expect the presidency that spends sleepless nights worried about poverty to show the way by rejecting this ridiculous proposal.