Cope LogoGovernment will now have to borrow even more to meet the new round of salary increases for politicians and judicial officers. Money is strangely always rapidly forthcoming to fund salary increases but strangely lacking for education, health and housing.

The Public Protector’s Office has had to scale back because of a funding squeeze. She rightly pointed out that the national budget must be prioritised. However, will President Zuma and the ruling party listen? They will certainly not. Self-enrichment is the order of the day.

On 11 March 2015, Fin24 used CNN data to show that President Barack Obama earned the equivalent of R4.9-million per annum, Stephen Harper of Canada took home R3.2-million, Angela Merkel’s pay cheque was R2.88-million and Jacob Zuma banked R2.75-million last year. If Angela Merkel has not had a salary increase, President Zuma with earnings of R2.9-million will overtake her. He thus becomes one of the five highest paid politicians in the world. He dwarfs the earnings of the Chinese and Indian leaders with their super economies.

Is it any wonder that South Africa is the most unequal society in the world? The gap between the have and have-nots continues to widen and is setting the scene for a titanic class struggle. Old age pensions and disability grants increased by a measly R60 on April 1. These went up from R1 350 a month to R1 410. The foster care grant increased from R830 to R860 a month.

Government has become too big and very unaffordable. The national debt, which will in a few weeks top R2-trillion, will have to be paid for by taxpayers and the pain of that has yet to be felt. If citizens remain tongue tied or indifferent now, the future will be stolen from them.

COPE wants government to downsize and for the salary bill to come down substantially. There are too many urgent priorities that need funding and meeting unnecessary salaries is certainly not one of them.

Issued by Dennis Bloem, Cope spokesperson

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