Business Maverick


Public sector wages, grants get 60% of the Budget

Public sector wages, grants get 60% of the Budget
A person counting money in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

In a clear bid to make this a people-friendly Budget in an election year, 60% of the Budget – R3.7-trillion – will be spent on the salaries for teachers, doctors and nurses, and social grants over the next three years.

About R58-billion of the spending reductions announced in the 2023 Medium Term Budget Policy Statement have been reversed to increase  funding to pay the salaries of teachers, nurses, doctors, police and other public servants.

Unlike personal income tax brackets, which have not been adjusted for inflation, permanent social grants have been increased.

This means the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant of R350 will not be increased immediately. However, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana says work is under way to improve the Covid-19 SRD grant by April 2024. National Treasury will work with the Department of Social Development and these “improvements” will be within the current fiscal framework. For the extension of the grant beyond March 2025, the social security policy reforms, together with the funding source, will be finalised.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Hidden key to the Budget

Spending on social grants excluding the SRD grant will increase from R217-billion in 2023/24 to R259-billion in 2026/27. Grant beneficiaries (excluding SRD grant beneficiaries) are projected to increase from 18.8 million in the current financial year to 19.7 million in 2026/27.

To keep pace with inflation and increase access, permanent social grants will increase as follows:

  • Old age, war veterans, disability and care dependency grants – up by R100 to R2,185. This increase will be split into R90 effective from April, and R10 effective October;
  • Foster care grants – up by R50 to R1,180; and
  • Child support grants – up R20 to R530.

“We are sensitive to the increase in the cost of living for the nearly 19 million South Africans who rely on these grants to make ends meet. In this regard, we have done as much as the fiscal envelope allows,” Godongwana said. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Arno Stijlen says:

    Eventually, somethings got to give somewhere! 19 million grants, that is unheard of. It is clear that after the allocation of 60% of the budget, hardly nothing is left for the rest that needs to be done and explains the ongoing decline everywhere in the country!

    • virginia crawford says:

      About 8 million tax payers supporting 19 million plus all the incompetent “public servants” – not sustainable.

      • Ben Harper says:

        Try around 2 Million taxpayers supporting 58 Million people. I often used the work of Mike Schussler (RIP) in presentations on BBBEE and way back in 2008 there were more people on social grants than were in formal employment

        • Random Comment says:

          Ben, you are correct. The only issue is that quite a few of those 2M taxpayers have left or are planning to leave…with disastrous long-term consequences for tax revenues.

          • Ben Harper says:

            Absolutely, and the outcome of May 29th will determine the future/failure of SA, if the anc stay in power anyone with an iota of common sense will get their money out of SA, the anc are coming after your savings and pensions

  • virginia crawford says:

    and other public servants- how many and how much?

    • J vN says:

      All told, if you reckon in the salary takers (it’s not as if most of them actually work, so one can’t call them workers) of parastatals, SA has about 2 million public alleged servants. The overwhelming majority of them are useless and one may as well put them in the same basket as grant recipients. They are charity cases, who’d never get jobs on merit outside the public alleged service.

    • Ben Harper says:

      Since early to mid 2000’s there have been more people in the employ of the state or state owned enterprises than in the private sector

  • Iam Fedup says:

    It’s not a budget for the people. It’s a bribe to win votes from lazy, useless citizens. Those that contribute to the good of society, like teachers, nurses, firemen, etc., will get a minute fraction of the trillions. The oxygen robbers in the civil service, the police, the SOEs, and all those who sit at home collecting MY money can all go jump as far as I’m concerned. The country is broken, failed, completely destroyed, but we still give free stuff to those who vote for us.

    • Random Comment says:

      The only budget on earth where those that actually pay the taxes get NOTHING in return – no security, no medical, no good schooling, no municipal services, no electricity, no sewerage, intermittent water – which is intermittently potable, no representation, no pension, no social services, no arts, no culture and no thanks.

  • Vas K says:

    60% of the budget for the handouts? This country must have the greater number of people with a sense of entitlement then the rest of the world combined. Before you start correcting me, I know that that it includes the Public Sector wages. That makes it even more ridiculous: If I don’t want to die of a curable disease, I better have a very expensive medical aid. If I don’t want to get murdered, I better engage an expensive private security. If I want electricity, I better get solar panels or a generator. If I want water, I better install ample storage tanks. If I don’t like potholes, I better fill them in myself. If I need a fire brigade, I’m on my own. If I expect enforcement of traffic laws and working traffic lights I’m considered an out-of-touch lunatic. If I want a decent education for my children, I have to send them to a private school. I could go on and on. Luckily we have no countries at our borders with expansionist ambitions, as that would surely mean private armies. There are no functioning services if you don’t make a private arrangement. Luckily we have no countries at our borders with expansionist ambitions, as that would surely mean private armies.
    I’m fully aware that there are some very capable and honest public servants, but looking at the results they cannot be many. It’s always the results that count. And the result in SA is that for all the taxes we all pay we get one big fat ZERO. And that leaves me wondering where the other 40% of the budget goes.

  • Zai AD says:

    and how proud the ANC are of 19 million waiting for handouts… well done

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