President Jacob Zuma has been sensitive to South Africans’ social and economic conditions‚ opting on various occasions for salary increases below those recommended by the Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers‚ the Presidency said.

It added that since 2010‚ the president had never approved or accepted any increase recommened by the commission that was above the prevailing inflation rate.

The Presidency said it had noted media reports generated by the decision of the National Assembly to accept the recommendation for a 5% increase in the 2014/2015 financial year in the salaries of public office bearers including the president‚ the deputy president‚ ministers‚ deputy ministers and Members of Parliament.

“The Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers independently reviews and recommends salaries of public office bearers on an annual basis. In January this year the Commission recommended an increase of 5% for all office bearers‚ including the President.

“Since taking office in 2009 President Jacob Zuma has been sensitive to South Africans’ social and economic conditions‚ opting on various occasions for salary increases below those recommended by the Commission. Since 2010 for instance‚ the President has never approved or accepted the Commission’s recommended increase that is above the prevailing inflation rate‚” the Presidency said in a statement.

It pointed out that in 2009‚ the year that he had come into office‚ the commission had recommended 8% but President Zuma had reduced it to 7%. “In 2010 the Commission recommended 7% but he decided against it and substantially lowered it to 5%. In 2013‚ after the tragic incidents in Marikana‚ the Commission recommended 7% but President Zuma decided against an increase for himself but approved increases for Members of Parliament and other office bearers.

“The Directors-General of all Departments also declined any salary increases in 2013‚ following the President’s example‚” the Presidency added.

“The Presidency wishes to reiterate that it is the Commission that‚ after considering section 8 (6) of the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers Act number 92 of 1997‚ makes recommendations to the President regarding the remuneration.

“As is the practice‚ before submitting recommendations‚ the Commission consulted relevant stakeholders including the Minister of Finance and the recommendations of the Commission were further forwarded to National Parliament for tabling and subsequent adoption‚” the statement concluded.

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