Nicolette Dirk, finance writer, justmoney.co.za
Election watch 2014: While consumers are bracing themselves for another price hike in petrol and food, President Jacob Zuma has approved a further R45 million salary hike for a few top politicians.
Reports stated that the president approved the 5% increase, which will affect the pockets of members of his executive, premiers, MPs, MECs and MPLs. It further stated that Zuma ignored recommendations of the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers not to increase salaries of politicians earning R1 million and above.
How will this affect the pockets of South African taxpayers?
According to Marc Sevitz, co-founder of online virtual tax assistant, TaxTim the price hike is not unusually high and government usually makes allowances for these types of salary hikes. He added that the reason for the public outcry is because recently the president encouraged private sector chief executives, executive directors and senior executives to freeze salary increases for the next 12 months as part of the commitment to build an equitable economy.
“The timing for such this kind of salary hike is bad. Especially in light of cases like the Nkandla report. It makes the public feel like government is wasting money while there are so many people in the country who don’t have jobs,” said Sevitz.
Upgrades to the president’s homestead at Nkandla, Kwazulu-Natal reportedly cost more than R206 million to upgrade.
Reports stated that public protector Thuli Madonsela will announce the release date of her final report on the Nkandla scandal next month.
Sevitz also predicted that the marginal tax rate announced next month during the Budget Speech would increase by much as there is a realisation that consumers cannot afford to pay tax rates that are exceedingly high.
“Elections are coming up and usually taxes are not steep. Individuals can anticipate a marginal tax rate increase,” said Servitz.