Fact Check: Do SA's civil servants get R8 out of every R10 government spends?

South Africa’s new finance minister Tito Mboweni recently commented on the cost of civil servant salaries while delivering the annual Kader Asmal Lecture in Cape Town.

Mboweni said, "strategically speaking if we were better organised, we should be making sure that we do not have a situation where R8 out of every R10 goes to salaries and wages in the public sector..." Various media houses reported that this was currently the case.

Senior Researcher at Africa Check Kate Wilkinson unpacks the statement.

We got in touch with Treasury and asked them about the statement that the minister had made and if he was claiming that this was the current situation. We heard back from the spokesman for National Treasury who said that the minister was describing a situation that he wanted to avoid, he was making an illustrative point about the work that needs to go into avoiding a situation like that.

Kate Wilkinson, Senior Researcher at Africa Check

Not verifying or getting comment from someone on if that is what they actually meant can have serious impact on relationships between government, unions and civil society.

Kate Wilkinson, Senior Researcher at Africa Check

We decided to dig and try and find out what the current breakdown is. Anyone can go to National Treasury's website, go to the latest budget information for 2018 and in there what you will see is money paid to employees made up 35.2% of government's consolidated spending in 2017/18. What that means is every R3,52 out of every R10 that the government spends goes to salaries in the public sector.

Kate Wilkinson, Senior Researcher at Africa Check

Click on the link below to listen to the full conversation....


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