Johannesburg – Cope deputy president Willy Madisha is calling on President Jacob Zuma to reverse his decision to accept a 5% salary increase claiming that Treasury is almost empty.
“Cope challenges the president and the ANC to reverse the decision and to peg salaries at the present level for the next four years,” Madisha said in a statement on Saturday.
“It is the ruling party that wants to pocket the increases while the people struggle and tax payers are being bent under all manner of taxes.”
Madisha, who is a former Congress of SA Trade Unions president, said the state was up to its eyeballs in debt.
“The majority of the country’s people are suffering, and their plight should receive priority.
“Money should go to them and not to politicians,” he said.
Major financial shock
An increase of R130 000 a year in Zuma’s salary was approved in Parliament earlier this week.
Zuma would now earn more than R2.7m.
In January, the Independent Commission on the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers recommended a 5% increase for all office bearers, including the president, deputy president, ministers, deputy ministers and members of parliament.
Madisha said people who voted for the African National Congress should accept that it was them, along with Zuma and the ruling party in government, who put South Africa on the path to ruin.
“If ANC voters and supporters imagine that we as a nation can take this enormous financial burden in our stride, they are sadly mistaken.
“We are only months away from a major financial shock,” he claimed.
Despite getting an increase, the presidency on Friday insisted that Zuma was sensitive to the country’s social and economic conditions.
“Since 2010 for instance, the president has never approved or accepted the commission’s recommended increase that is above the prevailing inflation rate,” spokesperson Harold Maloka said.
“Since taking office in 2009 President Jacob Zuma has been sensitive to South Africans’ social and economic conditions…”
Opposition parties were opposed to the salary increase.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane reportedly said Zuma already received a 100-year advance with the R246m for Nkandla.
The EFF’s Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu reportedly also chimed in and said that the country already feeds him, dresses him, pays for his legal fees and even built him a cattle kraal and chicken run.
The FF Plus called for the president’s salary to be reduced to R1.