Government employees are better paid than their private sector counterparts. The median public sector salary is R46,000 per month while the private sector’s is R26,000.
Labour analyst Andrew Levy told Newzroom Afrika that better remuneration for public sector employees has not resulted in better productivity. Public sector increases, without a corresponding increase in productivity, are unsustainable over the long term.
Levy’s data shows that 50% of government employees earn more than R46,000 per month. Roughly half of all government employees earn 77% more than their private sector counterparts in South Africa.
It’s important to note that this data does not include the considerable benefits that public sector workers receive, that do not go to their private sector counterparts.
CEOs of large, listed companies earn substantially more than government officials, including ministers, directors-general, and even the President.
Levy said, however, that a large portion of CEOs’ compensation is categorised as risk remuneration – bonuses and incentives are largely based on their performance. If they do not perform up to the mark, they do not receive this remuneration.
‘My view is that CEOs deserve their bonuses. They worked for them and probably resulted in the company thriving, employing more people and keeping others employed’, Levy said.
In the public sector, employee remuneration is not based on performance and is solely determined by the increases negotiated by trade unions.
‘This has made the public-sector labour force highly inflexible and inefficient’, said Levy.
The government employee wage bill was R408 billion in 2013/2014 and R724 billion in 2023/2024.
This increase is due to pay-progression agreements, pension contribution benefits and allowances – overtime pay, housing allowance, and medical aid – which increase according to the relevant inflation rate.