Pariament has unanimously supported a call by President Cyril Ramaphosa for a retrospective 0% salary increase for the Electoral Commission of South Africa’s (IEC) bosses.
This follows Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs agreeing to Ramaphosa’s determination earlier this month.
Committee chairperson Bongani Bongo presented the report during a virtual sitting on Thursday.
Section 7(2) of the Electoral Commission Act 51 of 1996 provides that the IEC’s full- and part-time commissioners are entitled to annual salaries and allowances or benefits.
A similar salary freeze will also apply to part-time commissioners’ daily and hourly rates in 2019/20, over and above the salary freeze applicable to judges.
Ramaphosa has called on public office bearers and executives of large companies to take pay cuts and contribute to the Solidarity Fund, which will go towards mobilising resources to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.
At the time, he announced that he, together with his Cabinet, deputy ministers and premiers would take a one-third cut in their salaries for the next three months, which would be donated to the fund.
It had so far raised around R2.2 billion, with half of that already allocated to buy gloves, face shields, surgical masks, test kits and ventilators, Ramaphosa said.
DA MP Adrian Roos said the party was in support of the move.
“The DA has argued against a blanket freezing of salaries. This will affect the frontline heroes,” he said, adding that the IEC chairperson and commissioners earn above R1.5 million a year.
The EFF also supported the report, “considering the economic state of the country”.
IFP MP Liezl van der Merwe said the country’s dire economic situation and budget cuts would have a negative impact on all institutions.
“Now, more than ever, our constitutional institutions need our support. The IEC now has the crucial task of working with Parliament to give effect to the Constitutional Court ruling that ordered the redesign of our electoral system to allow for independent candidates to be able to stand for national and provincial elections,” she said.
Van der Merwe also said they remained concerned about next year’s municipal elections and whether it would go ahead.