Parly postpones salary debate amid public outcry

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Ntsebeng Motsoeli

PARLIAMENT has indefinitely postponed debates on whether or not to approve proposals to increase the salaries of the prime minister, his deputy, ministers, legislators as well as heads of key state institutions such as the chief justice.

Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu yesterday proposed the postponement to enable the proposals to be “better understood” by MPs and the public in general.

Mr Mokhothu said it had been wrongly assumed that cabinet ministers wanted to award themselves 10 percent salary increments when they were only getting a 5 percent increment along with civil servants who were awarded the increment when then Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro presented the 2020/21 budget in February this year.

He said the other five percent increment ministers expected to receive was in reality not an increment but an adjustment meant to restore them to their previous salary scale after their salaries were cut by the same percentage in the 2019/20 financial year. The salaries were cut after cabinet ministers under the then Thomas Thabane-led government cabinet agreed to the pay cuts to help reduce government expenditure.

However, in the new proposals tabled in parliament a fortnight ago by Public Service Minister, Semano Sekatle, the cabinet ministers will receive a 5 percent increment to restore them to their pre-2019/20 salaries and another 5 percent increment for the 2020/21 financial year.

“This is not a 10 percent increment as thought by some MPs and the nation,” Mr Mokhothu said yesterday.

“I therefore suggest that this issue should be postponed and further discussed for better understanding by everyone,” he added.

The salary increment proposals are contained in two sets of regulations titled ‘Members of Parliament Salaries (Amendment of Schedule) Regulations 2020’ and ‘Statutory Salaries (Amendment of Schedule) Regulations 2020’.

If approved by the MPs, the proposals will also result in salary increments for the prime minister his deputy, legislators as well as heads of key state institutions.

This will result in the premier and his deputy pocketing M709 296 and M612 564 annually respectively.

The prime minister will earn M59 108 per month while his deputy will take home M51 047 monthly. The premier currently earns M56 283 while his deputy pockets M48 416 monthly.

MPs’ salaries will be increased to M431 604 per annum. This translates to earnings of M37 633, 67 each per month. MPs currently earn M35 853 each per month.

The Chief Justice will earn M619 788 per annum up from M590 268 while High Court judges and the attorney general will take home M511 968 per annum up from M487 5854.

The Ombudsman, Auditor General, the Director of Public Prosecutions, chairperson of the Public Service Commission and chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission will all pocket M502 272 per annum. They are all currently earning M478 344 or M39 862 monthly.

Members of the Public Service Commission and the Independent Electoral Commission will each earn M451 752 per annum up from M430 236.

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