The National Assembly (NA) has approved President Cyril Ramaphosa’s proposals on salary increases for judges, magistrates, the Public Protector, Deputy Public Protector and Commissioners of the South African Human Rights Commission effective from 1 April 2020.
President Ramaphosa, in letters dated 13 April 2021, informed National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise that he had received annual salary recommendations from the Independent Commission for the remuneration of public office bearers.
“The Commission, having considered the fiscal condition of the country, the State’s wage bill and the impact of the public office bearers’ salary increment on the fiscus and general economic status of the country, which has been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, recommended a 0% salary increment for the financial year 2020/2021.
“Having considered the Commission’s recommendation, the President intended to determine a 0% salary increase for the judges, magistrates, the Public Protector, Deputy Public Protector and Commissioners of the South African Human Rights Commission,” Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said on Thursday.
Mothapo noted that approval from both Houses of Parliament – the National Council of Provinces and the NA – is required for the proposed remuneration of the judges and magistrates to become effective.
He said that a plenary sitting of the National Council of Provinces is yet to decide on the issue, however, the National Assembly alone approves the salaries of the Public Protector, Deputy Public Protector and the Commissioners.
Amendments on Legal Aid South Africa Act approved
Meanwhile, the National Assembly has also approved the amendments to draft regulations made in terms of section 23(1) of the Legal Aid South Africa Act, 2014.
In its report, the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services said the proposed amendments to the regulations do not result in any significant policy change.
The changes include that civil matters with a significant impact on the life of a client are prioritised if a waiting period is applied; confirmation that legal aid is available to persons 60 years and older in maintenance, domestic violence and harassment cases, and that the resources of Legal Aid South Africa will be focused on divorce matters where clients are vulnerable or will suffer substantial injustice.
The committee noted that the limited and decreasing civil resources of Legal Aid South Africa will be directed to the most vulnerable.
“Section 23(2) of the Legal Aid South Africa Act requires that any regulations made must, before publication in the Government Gazette, be tabled in Parliament by the Minister for approval,” Mothapo said.