News / Africa

    South African Lawmaker Unhappy with Zuma's Pay Increase

    FILE - South Africa's President Jacob Zuma is pictured during his visit to the Lodewyk P. Spies Old Age Home in Eersterust, Pretoria, Dec. 15, 2015.
    FILE - South Africa's President Jacob Zuma is pictured during his visit to the Lodewyk P. Spies Old Age Home in Eersterust, Pretoria, Dec. 15, 2015.
    Peter Clottey

    A cross-section of South Africans are not happy with the announcement of an increase in pay for President Jacob Zuma, which is set to begin next month, according to Jordan Lewis, a member of parliament from the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA).

    Zuma’s raise will see him taking home $188,000 a year. The Independent Commission on the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers recommended in November a 5 percent salary increase. All other civil servants would also receive the same 5 percent salary increase for the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

    But some opposition and civil society groups say President Zuma doesn’t deserve the increase, due to what they contend is the poor prevailing economic conditions.

    Moves against pay increase

    The DA introduced two amendments in parliament to oppose the increase for the president, but failed when members of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) defeated the effort. Thus the motion for the pay increase became final following the process in the lawmaking body.

    Parliament member Lewis says the opposition DA party has officially petitioned Zuma to reject the pay increase.

    “This is a president who has faced very serious corruption charges, who has used hundreds of millions of rand of taxpayers’ money to build his own private house,” said Lewis.

    “What we have done though is that we have written formally to President Zuma to ask him to do the right thing and not to accept the salary increase. Because the economy is not growing, the economy is in a very tough position besides the imminent downgrade of our national credit rating and many people are unemployed, and there is really a huge cash crunch in the government finances… But I am not optimistic that he would do the right thing.”

    Publicity stunt?

    Supporters of the ANC say Zuma deserves a salary increase since it was proposed by an independent body, adding that it is the normal pay increase that all civil servants get. They accused the DA of hypocrisy, saying their opposition to the increase is just a mere publicity stunt to gain political points on an issue which shouldn’t have been controversial or political.

    But Lewis disagreed. He says the DA’s opposition to the increase is because the president and his party have been unable to boost the economy to create jobs for the country’s youth despite repeated promises to do so.

    “The economy is not growing… we face a recession and a credit rating downgrade and in those circumstances even if other civil servants, teachers and nurses get an increase, it doesn’t mean that the president deserves one,” said Lewis.

    The DA, Lewis says, will not be deterred in its determination to push for a vote of no confidence vote against Zuma. This, despite Zuma’s decision to pay some of the public funds used to upgrade his private house in Nkandla.

    Lewis says the DA is waiting for a favorable decision from the Constitutional Court before deciding the party’s next action.

    “Once we have a Constitutional Court judgment on that, then we can move another motion of impeachment in parliament. And then it would be very difficult to argue against that motion because there is a court judgment to back it up,” said Lewis.

    You May Like

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    This forum has been closed.
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora