Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, made a lot of the need to stop spending on public service personnel, especially at a provincial level where 881,000 public servants are employed.
Their salaries have been set up in discussions that often result in an increase in pay much higher than the inflation rate. 409 000 other public officials are employed at a national level, who earn paid after their budgets.
The sadness does not necessarily extend to everyone as data from this week's budget documents show. Most national government employees have hikes above inflation in the next few years, despite the symbolic freeze on parliamentary salaries this year.
The projections in National Spending Estimates show that the total level of staff at national level is reduced by 0.8% – mainly due to cuts in the security cluster.
Other sections will grow moderately. Not all public divisions or servants are equal. Some smaller sections include almost entirely a skilled group of senior officers with high earnings; others include thousands of poorly paid junior officers. In 2022 the higher education department will be the worst salary department with an average salary of R416 000 per annum.
This includes almost 9,000 university staff earning R300 000 or less and 174 best administrators earn more than R1.6 million.
The economic development department, the smallest, will replace science and technology so that the best payment will be paid with the average annual salary rising to R981 000 by 2022.
The largest increase in pay will be in the Independent Police Research Directorate.
Staff will not change at all in the next three years, but the average charge increases by 8.3% to an average of R613,000 per annum.
Zuma vs Ramaphosa
The salary of President Cyril Ramaphosa has budgeted to increase R3.6 million last year to R4.5 million by 2022. This equates to an average increase of 7.2%.
On average, presidency staff will receive a salary increase of 6.1% over the next three years. Zuma was paid for R3 million in his last full year in the eye.
The presidency of Ramaphosa will be much more expensive than Zuma's. The presidency budget was R511 million last year and will jump to R700 million next year.
Much of this is more wages that the budget document testifies to re-establish an internal research unit over the next three years.
There is a less quiet increase in the budget for travel. This will double next year from R56 million to R109 million and then drop to R73 million next year. Dan Zuma tended to be around R55 million a year.
The obvious difference between Zuma and Ramaphosa attendances is the expenditure on legal services. In the last three years in Zuma, these were a total of R40 million.
He spent the ruling of Ramaphosa R7 million in his first year and has budgeted for R23 million over the next three years.
On the other hand, Ramafosa budgets more for consultants and contractors. Zuma spent around R3 million a year on "business and advice services" consultants, but Ramaphosa will raise this to R9 million.
Ramaphosa also plans to spend R17.4 million on "this year's" contractors "compared to R5.7 million last year.
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