Mid-term budget politicians South Africa

The National Assembly meeting scheduled for Tuesday 17 March has been called off.
Photo: Siyabulela Duda

Mid-term budget massacre: Politicians set to lose five major luxuries

Everyone, including our politicians, has been hit hard by the Mid-term budget speech on Wednesday. It’s time to say goodbye to a few luxuries.

Mid-term budget politicians South Africa

The National Assembly meeting scheduled for Tuesday 17 March has been called off.
Photo: Siyabulela Duda

Well, at least it’s not just us citizens getting screwed over by the economy. It looks like it’s now a case of “you break it, you buy it” for a number of our most prominent figures. The Mid-term budget speech wasn’t particularly kind to anyone, and South Africa’s major politicians will soon feel the pinch.

Mid-term budget speech shocks South Africa

That’s because Tito Mboweni has five major luxuries that will be taken away from all cabinet ministers, official premiers and provincial MECs. The move is set to affect hundreds of elected representatives, but as the finance minister says, desperate times now call for desperate measures.

“After adjusting for inflation, the average government wage has risen by 66% in the last ten years. We look forward to robust discussions in the relevant bargaining structures and with other stakeholders to achieve a sustainable arrangement.”

“The President has agreed to these money-saving guidelines, which will apply to members of the Cabinet and members of provincial executives. I encourage the leadership in Parliament to think about how they can further contain their compensation and benefits. We are all in this together.”

Luxury expenses being taken away from politicians

Mboweni has wielded the axe in a number of areas on Wednesday. Growth forecasts have been slashed, and the national debt is expected to surpass R4.5 trillion in three years. That’s a whopping increase of R1.5 trillion before 2022. However, he’s hoping to make a hole in that total with the following actions:

Salary freezes

For the foreseeable future, all cabinet members, state premiers and MECs will be capped at their current wage. Mboweni even warned that some MPs could see their salaries decrease.

Taxpayer-funded cars to be slashed

State officials can claim over R1 million for a vehicle on behalf of the taxpayer. Mboweni has now stated that the limit will come down to just R700 000 – that includes VAT, too.

Fancy phone clamp-down

There’s also going to be a limit introduced for cell phone dispensation that can be claimed from the state. Hopefully so politicians will swap their iPhone X’s for Nokia 3210’s.

No more business class flights

That’s right. Parliamentarians travelling by plane will not be allowed to use public money to fly business. They will only be given an allowance for economy class.

No “sticking it on the bill” during official business trips

Some politicians will no longer be able to claim money back for travel expenses or subsistence while on official business, either. That includes domestic and international excursions.

Mid-term budget speech targets politicians

This follows on from four measures taken earlier in the year to ease the amount of money taxpayers spend on politicians. Initiatives like the encouragement of early retirement, smaller performance bonuses and executive salary freezes were all introduced back in February.

However, these interventions have not worked – they haven’t created as much savings as the government were hoping for, and early retirement profits are coming through much slower than original estimates suggested. Tito Mboweni has been left with no choice but to kick things into fifth gear.