Trade Unions Express Outrage Over Ramaphosa’s 3% Increase for Public Office Bearers

Many South Africans are unhappy with President Ramaphosa's decision to raise public servants' salaries by 3 percent.

Trade unions have voiced their outrage over President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to grant a 3% increase in salaries for all public office bearers.

The move, based on recommendations from the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers, has been strongly criticized by unions as “embarrassing and ridiculous.”

Cosatu, one of the major trade unions, described the decision as “tone deaf” and argued that it should have been rejected. Similarly, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) expressed its fury, stating that it had already called for the rejection of the commission’s recommendations.

Nehawu emphasized that the country is facing significant challenges, including high levels of unemployment, poverty, and inequality.

The union condemned the government’s decision to offer public service workers an increment below the inflation rate, while granting a salary increase to public office bearers.

Zola Saphetha, the general secretary of Nehawu, criticized the decision as unethical, particularly when workers and ordinary citizens are experiencing financial hardships amid the rising cost of living. Saphetha questioned the justification for providing a remuneration increase to public office bearers while many others are suffering.

Cosatu’s parliamentary coordinator, Matthew Parks, highlighted the discrepancy between the recommended 1.5% increase for political office bearers and judges by the Treasury and the 3% increase implemented by the president.

Parks criticized the government for imposing wage freezes and below inflation rate increases on essential workers, such as police officers, nurses, and doctors, while granting higher increases to political office bearers.

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