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Public servants set to receive 4.7% pay rise in 2024

Public servants set to receive 4.7% pay rise in 2024

The pay adjustment is part of a two-year wage deal that public sector trade unions accepted in April 2023 on behalf of public servants including doctors, nurses, teachers and police officers.

SA’s 1.2 million public servants are set to receive a 4.7% increase in their pay from April, covering the last leg of the two-year remuneration deal between public sector trade unions and the government. 

On Wednesday, the Department of Public Service and Administration, which is responsible for employment conditions in the public sector, confirmed the pay increase for public servants across national and provincial departments from 1 April 2024. 

The pay adjustment applies to public servants between remuneration levels one and 12 — applying to all workers in the state, excluding senior managers.

Public Service and Administration Minister Noxolo Kiviet said the decision to award pay increases took into account several factors, “including the current economic climate and the imperative for fiscal restraint. 

“The government had counterbalanced these with the need to prioritise fair and competitive compensation for public servants to attract and retain talented individuals dedicated to serving the nation.

“This decision aligns with the commitment to affordable and accessible public services while recognising the hard work and dedication of public servants,” said Kiviet in a statement.

The pay adjustment is part of a two-year remuneration deal that public sector trade unions accepted in April 2023 on behalf of public servants including doctors, nurses, teachers and police officers. 

At the time, public sector trade unions accepted the government’s offer to increase the pay of 1.2 million public servants by 7.5% in 2023 and by a projected consumer inflation rate in 2024. But the increase for 2024 would be capped at 6.5%.

The 4.7% is considered a base percentage in the pay increase of public servants. 

A trade union source told Daily Maverick that some parties in the labour movement are upset about the government offering a pay rise that is below inflation. 

“The government always committed to keeping pay in line with the cost of living. The 4.7% leaves a bad taste in the mouth,” the source said. 

In 2023, the inflation rate reached 6%, and the Reserve Bank expects the rate to reach 5% in 2024. 

Reuben Maleka, the general manager of the Public Servants’ Association (PSA), said the trade union will monitor inflation this year to see if it is aligned with the pay increase offer from the government. 

“Should the CPI [inflation rate] rise above the projected CPI, the PSA will insist that the difference be augmented. The PSA is pleased that the employer [the government] will adhere to the [wage] resolution and not repeat what happened with the last leg of Resolution 1 of 2018  in 2020 [whereby the government implemented a pay freeze and reneged on the wage deal],” Maleka told Daily Maverick. 

Some public servants stand to receive a pay rise that is over and above the 4.7% as they will get an additional 1.5%, which is known as a “pay progression”.  

A “pay progression” is ordinarily awarded to public servants for their years of service and performance. It is factored in every year as part of a remuneration package. 

Daily Maverick understands that a separate agreement is being negotiated on a housing allowance increase, but the government wants to increase it in line with the inflation rate. Medical benefits are also yet to be determined. 

Cost of pay rise

It is unclear how much the 4.7% pay rise will cost the government to implement this year. National Treasury has penciled in R754.2-billion during the 2024/25 fiscal year to pay public servants, which was increased by R33.1-billion compared to the 2023/24 fiscal year.  

Treasury added an amount of R144.8-billion over the next three years to the budgets of provincial health, education, home affairs, police, defence and correctional services to cover any shortfalls in the increased cost of paying public servants, instead of the departments funding the adjustments within their existing budgets. 

Other departments are expected to absorb pay increases within their budgets. 

The cost of paying public servants is projected to increase to R788.6-billion in 2025 and R822.5-billion in 2026 – it’s the single largest component of government expenditure, gobbling up about 30% of total expenditure of R2.4-trillion in the current fiscal year. 

This cost crowds out spending on capital projects for future growth as well as items crucial for service delivery. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • J vN says:

    Public alleged servants are overpaid by at least 90% in SA.

    • Senzo MK says:

      That’s the most ignorant comment I’ve ever seen. If you have not worked the jobs those people mentioned have, don’t talk. You don’t know the hardships they’ve gone through

  • D M says:

    I agree. I am a nurse and I work in a state hospital. I am a good nurse and I work hard to do the best I can for my patients. While the rest of the country is finishing work at 4pm, I am still there, doing what I can with the little we have. Patients are quick to blame nurses, however they fail to take into account, how shortstaffed we are. Our equipment, if we have any, is outdated or faulty or just broken and never been replaced. Our stock is cheap and of poor quality, our facilities are terrible. Imagine working in a closed department with our summer temperatures without airconditioning or open windows? Imagine 3 nurses in a ward with over 30 patients, some of them critically ill, or just returning from surgery and requiring more care. Meanwhile , at home, my daughter waits for me to get home and is anxious because the car I drive is over 18 years old and could break down at any minute, and I can’t afford to buy a new one because I have the audacity to want her to have a better life than me, so I spend all my money on getting her through varsity, which leaves me in serious debt, because as a single working mother, I have to pay a bond and see to all the expenses without any help from anybody besides the God I worship. The person that posted that comment feels like someone who comes from a place of privilege, and all I have to say is “Good for you”. Bear in mind that we are not all from that place.

  • virginia crawford says:

    Separate the wheat from the chaff: fire the useless, incompetent and corrupt and reward the ones that work: many do a sterling job.

  • No one is overpaid. When you are glass house, don’t throw stones. You don’t know what public servants go through on a daily basis, at least the good ones

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