ANC’s R18bn public sector cash payment is a political bribe – Leon Schreiber

DA MP says it’s a ploy to secure union support ahead of the local govt election

ANC’s R18 billion cash payment is a political bribe to secure union support ahead of the election

28 July 2021

Clearly reeling from the effects of declining support in the wake of the recent looting and anarchy, the ANC, led by Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu, has committed fiscal treason against the people of South Africa by offering a R18 billion cash bribe to secure the support of public sector unions ahead of the upcoming local government elections. 

The wage deal, which happens to run until shortly after the upcoming elections, will reward ANC cadres for mismanaging South Africa to the very brink of state failure with a 1.5% salary increase and a monthly cash “bonus” that will amount to between R14 640 and R20 340 per year. As a result, South Africa’s spending on public servant salaries will increase from the already astronomical R650 billion that was budgeted for in February to a new record high of R668 billion. 

We all know that the ANC relies heavily on its allies in Cosatu-affiliated unions to campaign for it ahead of elections and, with its support already flagging, the party was clearly willing to do whatever it takes to appease radical unions. It is blatantly obvious that the ANC offered the R18 billion cash payment to buy the support of labour unions in the run-up to the local government elections. The only way that this political bribe could be more obvious, is if the ANC handed the money to their union cadres in unmarked duffle-bags. 

As always, it is taxpayers who will have to pay for the ANC’s desperation to remain in power at any cost. With total tax revenue of R1.37 trillion expected in the current financial year, the ANC’s political bribe means that nearly half of all tax revenue will now be used just to pay the salaries of a public service that cannot even fulfil some of the most basic functions of a state, including by preventing anarchy and the looting of private businesses. Out of every one Rand paid by taxpayers, 48 cents will thus go towards paying the salaries of ANC cadres and government employees. 

The wage increases are also nothing less than treasonous in the current environment of economic collapse. While private businesses in sectors like hospitality and the alcohol industry have been decimated by Covid lockdowns and subsequently left to fend for themselves by a government that despises the private sector, and while many businesses and private sector workers in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng lost everything they had due to the recent state failure to prevent looting and anarchy, the government continues to fall over their feet to pay outrageous salary increases to their political allies in public sector unions. 

This wage bill bribe, which was seemingly endorsed by the National Treasury, has laid waste to Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s credibility, after he made repeated promises over the years to cut the wage bill. Mboweni will now need to tax South Africans even more, dump our country even deeper into debt, and reduce basic service delivery even more to pay-off his political debt. It is clear for the whole world to see that Mboweni’s promises are not worth the paper they are written on. 

By paying this political bribe, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s reform agenda lies in tatters. As the ANC has always done, he has bent the knee before the unions. As the ANC has always done, he has chosen the politics of his party over the prosperity of our country. As the ANC has always done, he has left South Africans to foot the bill for a political bribe that will benefit cadre and cronies while decimating the futures of citizens.

Issued by Leon Schreiber, DA Shadow Minister for Public Service and Administration, 28 July 2021