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SA civil servants signal acceptance of state pay hike

South African public servants are likely to accept the government’s latest wage offer, according an initial estimate of a ballot of labour-union members.

Wages account for about a third of government expenditure in South Africa and keeping it in check is key to the National Treasury’s efforts to contain runaway state debt. Ratings companies have flagged the wage bill as an ongoing risk to the nation’s finances.

Increasing pay for public servants on salary levels one to 12 by an average of 7% would cost an additional R35.8 billion in the upcoming financial year, the Treasury said March 16. Budget estimates released last month envisioned the compensation bill growing by an annual average of 2.1% over the six years through March 2026, down from 7.3% over the previous five-year period.

The Treasury declined to comment.

A separate agreement is being negotiated on housing allowances, while medical insurance is not part of the current round of talks, Maleka said. –