23/05/2018 06:30 SAST | Updated 23/05/2018 06:31 SAST

Country Is At Risk Unless Public Servants' Wage Increases Are Drastically Reined In - Minister

Ayanda Dlodlo has warned that in other countries, unsustainable wage hikes for state employees have led to the crippling of critical services.

Ayanda Dlolo.
City Press
Ayanda Dlolo.

The future stability of the country is now at critical risk unless drastic measures are taken to rein in public servants' wage increases, Business Day reported. Public service and administration minister Ayanda Dlodlo reportedly told Business Day that the country had gone above the "ceiling", and that this had resulted in the failure to deliver services in other countries.

Government's latest offer to unions has reportedly been rejected by several unions. It includes salary hikes of 7% for low level employees, and increases of 6.5 and 6% for mid-to-senior level employees.

"We've gone above the ceiling... it should be scary for South Africans, but maybe not to the unions. But to the general population that should be scary."

It was not out of the realm of possibility that government will have to freeze posts in an effort to find the money to give public servants the increases they are now demanding, she reportedly said.

Salaries for public servants reportedly cost 35% of government expenditure in 2017, an increase from 32.9% ten years ago.

This year, public servants will receive above-inflation increases of between 6 and 7 %, Business Day reported. Government reportedly budgeted for increases of 7.3%. Many unions have rejected government's latest offer, however.

Dlodlo reportedly warned, "If you look at wages and think we take from grants to pay salaries, I don't know what we will do on the day that our people revolt against government, its employees and political parties. It has happened in many other countries."

According to Eyewitness News (EWN), Dlodlo was going to sign the latest wage increase deal with unions on Monday, but this was postponed. Several unions remain unhappy.

The Public Servants Association (PSA) reportedly warned government not to push forward with its proposed deal. The PSA reportedly said the offer will commit servants to a "meagre" salary and the union has declared a formal dispute with government.

Fedusa has reportedly said it will present the deal to its members this week.

Strikes could be on the horizon.

According to Fin24, only the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union has officially signed government's latest offer. Many unions reportedly want increases of 10%. The deal will reportedly lapse in the next 21 days unless it is agreed upon, and negotiations wills tart again.