Take a hike, Zille tells Zuma over pay rises

No takers: Helen Zille has turned down pay rises. Photo: David Harrison

No takers: Helen Zille has turned down pay rises. Photo: David Harrison

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille and her MECs will reverse the increase in their salaries and challenge the process followed by the government in the latest round of pay hikes for senior leaders.

The leadership of the Western Cape government decided this week to accept the recommendation of the independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers – for increases ranging from 7% for those earning less than R500 000 a year to nothing for those earning R1-million a year.

Instead, President Jacob Zuma decided on 5% across the board. Although he did not give himself an increase.

“However, our view has not been taken into account [by the national government], even though we are within the relevant deadlines. The national government has simply gone ahead and processed the increases,” Zille said on Thursday.

She said that, according to the law, the government is supposed to give the provinces 30 days after the president’s proclamation to reach a different conclusion for the provinces. That period ends on February 7.

“Before that period has lapsed, however, and without consulting the provinces, the national government has implemented President Zuma’s proclamation for all provinces,” she said. “This is a serious matter.

“We agree with the commission’s recommendation that top politicians should not receive an increase at a time of austerity.”

Zille said the province will reverse the payments. She will also ask why the legal process was not followed.

Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj said he could not comment until he saw the substance of the DA’s complaint. However, there were avenues Zille could follow if she had a problem with the process.

He welcomed the Western Cape’s decision, saying they had joined Zuma’s bandwagon because he had also declined an increase.

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