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Passengers who earn too much are the root of the problem with the public service’s wage bill

(Debate in Parliament on the public service’s wage bill and the necessity of developing a comprehensive strategy for compensation)

The public service's wage bill is no doubt excessive, but the root of the problem is middle and top-level officials who earn too much while they are for all intents and purposes just passengers who make no contribution to the country's advancement.

This is at the expense of individuals who provide essential services every day, like doctors, nurses, teachers, police officers and many more.

Ironically enough, these sectors are usually understaffed while there is a surplus of overpaid top-level officials who are merely passengers on the public service's gravy train.

The Minister of Finance, Tito Mbowini, said in his medium-term budget speech that cutting back on salaries could save the fiscus approximately R300 billion per year.

In 2006/07, the government paid out R154 billion in salaries. At present, it amounts to R600 billion for 1,3 million officials, which comprises a third of the country's total budget. On average, that comes down to a salary of more than R460 000 per year, which is absolutely unsustainable.

The Treasury has already realised this and that is why the Minister proposed that no increases in public service salaries must be approved for the next three years.

It raises the question of why the ANC government allowed the situation to get so out of control in the first place. The answer is simple: The government does not know the difference between a labour creator and a job provider.

The labour market has stagnated and unemployment is at its highest point ever. Not due to Covid-19, but due to the ANC. To make up for this, the fiscus is exploited to create jobs and trade unions abuse their power to negotiate exorbitant salaries while the tax base is shrinking.

If misappropriation, corruption, fraud and a lack of productivity are also taken into account, it is easy to see why South Africa finds itself in such a dire financial position.

Recent research conducted by Intellidex, commissioned by Business Unity South Africa, indicate that the public service’s wage bill comprises 50% of the country's tax revenue. It cannot go on like this.

The solution to this problem is simple. Get rid of unnecessary passengers and cherish those who provide essential services on a daily basis to keep the country going.

 

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