Ramaphosa betrays private sector with R450m salary increase for millionaire cadres – Leon Schreiber

DA MP says this is an insult to more than 10 million unemployed South Africans

Days after SONA, Ramaphosa betrays private sector with R450 million salary increase for millionaire cadres

19 February 2022

Please note that this statement contains updated and corrected figures for the extent of the salary increase to senior managers.

The decision by the Minister of Public Service and Administration, Ayanda Dlodlo, to award a R450 million salary increase for millionaire managers in the Public Service is an insult to the private sector and the more than 10 million unemployed South Africans. This latest salary increase, following a R30 billion salary increase for lower levels of the public service last year, deals the death blow to years of empty promises by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government that it would freeze the public sector wage bill to avert a full-blown debt crisis.

Just days after telling South Africans that “it is the private sector, rather than the government, that creates jobs,” Ramaphosa’s administration has taken R450 million in taxpayer money out of the pockets of the private sector and handed it over to the very millionaire cadres who ran both the State and economy into the ground. Even with unemployment at its highest ever rate of 46%, and after two years of lockdowns that destroyed millions of livelihoods, Ramaphosa’s government continues to place its political interests ahead of the needs of the country by spending R450 million in taxpayer money to buy support for the upcoming ANC elective congress from ANC cadres “deployed” into senior management service (SMS) positions.

This unaffordable increase entails a monthly pensionable cash allowance of R1 695 for salary levels 13 to 15, R1 818 for salary level 16, and a salary increase of 1.5% for levels 13 to 16 – all backdated to April 2021.

The salary increase paid to the 712 highest paid millionaire managers (level 16) in the public service and backdated to April 2021 will cost South Africans over R38 million. This amounts to a pay-out of over R53 000 per person to the highest paid cadres in the state. In total, the 11 305 highest paid cadres in the ANC-captured state will take R450 million out of the pockets of the people, who will undoubtedly be forced to pay for it through higher taxes.

These calculations are based on a parliamentary reply on salary distribution in the public service that the DA received in October 2021, with the breakdown as follows:

Salary band 

Number of Employees 

Cost of non-pensionable cash allowance (backdated 12 months) 

Cost of 1.5% salary adjustment (Backdated 12 months) 




R155 804 400

R 132 656 385

R288 460 785



R48 917 700

R50 147 295

R99 064 995



R10 736 280

R13 181 370

R23 917 650



R15 532 992

R22 499 160

R38 032 152


R449 475 582 

As recently as December 2020, the Labour Court noted that further salary increases would not be just and equitable because it would “expend significant and scarce financial resources on employees whose jobs are already secured and salaries have been paid in full, particularly in circumstances where the imperative exists for the recovery of the economy to the benefit of millions of vulnerable people.”

After two years of further lockdown and corruption devastation, this rings even more true today than it did in December 2020. And in the wake of his undertaking in SONA to put the private sector first, this is a grave betrayal of South Africa’s hardworking private sector workers and job creators.

In response, the DA will submit an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) to ascertain whether all legal requirements were met before this outrageous increase was announced.

Statement issued by Dr Leon Schreiber MP - DA Shadow Minister for Public Service and Administration, 18 February 2022. Corrected 19 February 2022.