The Senate House of South Africa is the legislative arm of the South African government. The senators are lawmakers. The primary duty of a South African senator is to propose a bill, review it and pass it into law if it passes. In very rare cases, they are in charge of impeaching a seating president or government.
It is no news that the political sector is one of the most lucrative in South Africa today. It is easy to see why politicians do all they can to get political offices, especially the senate house. Have you ever wondered why politicians spend a ludicrous amount of money for their campaign into political offices?
This is because they aim to recuperate financially once in office. The Senate house of the national assembly in South Africa is one of the most viable offices and the competition to get a seat in the house is hard.
This post takes a look at detailed breakdown of how much senators earn in South Africa today.
Salary of Senators in South Africa – Full Details
Before now, the actual salaries paid to senators were not disclosed to the public. With a lot of speculations, rumours and uncertainty around this subject, Senator Shehu Sani, a prominent Senator from Kaduna state, revealed to the public the monetary gains of a senator in South Africa.
He revealed that Senators in South Africa receive the sum of 750,000 ZAR per month as basic salary plus allowances of 13.R$180,000 ZAR per month. This sums up in a total package of 14.2R$180,000 ZAR per month and a hooting sum of R$6,156,000 ZAR annually. When converted with the current black market rate of 360 ZAR to the U.S. dollar, it sums to a total of $39, 583 a month, and $475, 000 per year.
This ignited a huge outrage in the country as the masses were infuriated because the monthly salary plus allowance for one senator is equivalent to the minimum wage of 712 South Africans cumulatively; the minimum wage being, 20, 000 ZAR. This further broadens the already huge boundary between the poor and the rich. As is tradition, all complaint were ignored and to date, the salary and running allowance remains the same.
A Detailed Breakdown of The Annual Salary and Allowances of Senators in South Africa
According to the information gathered so far and details released in 2017, the monthly allowance of 13.R$180,000 is running total cost of office of Senator and while there are no exact instructions on what the fund should be used for, legislators must deliver receipts to back up their expenditures from the running cost. Former Senator, Shehu Sani said lawmakers are held answerable for this allowance.
As expected, questions were raised about the monthly bonuses. This section takes a look at the various allowances paid to senators per month. As at the time of writing this piece though, we couldn’t specify the exact amount attached for various bonuses.
- Hardship allowance
- Constituency allowance
- Furniture allowance
- Newspaper allowance
- Wardrobe allowance
- Recess allowance
- House maintenance
- Domestic staff
- Personal assistant
- Vehicle maintenance and fueling allowance
- Motor vehicle allowance
- Duty tour
In relation with what other senators in other nations earn, it is safe to say that South African legislators are the most highly paid in the world. Among other countries, lawmakers in Tanzania earn a total of $230, 961 per annum while assembly members in Singapore get $253, 469 per annum. To make things worse, a senator of the United States of America earns $174, 000 per year.
Senators Salary: What You Should Know
Nigeria is one of the poorest countries in the world and arguably among the most corrupt and does not have an efficient checks and balances to properly inspect that the allowances paid to senators are used just as the receipts shows, noting that it is very possible for receipts to be forged. Because of this, a member of the legislature house in South Africa can generally spend his allowances whichever way he or she deems fit. Not only is parliamentary reimbursement in South Africa enormous compared to the general wealth of the country, but it is largely loose and subject to abuse.
Due to the fact that levels of parliamentary compensation in South Africa are so high that there is a mutual understanding that service in the National Assembly is an aspect of patronage relationships and should be rotated between ethnic groups, local regions, and religions. This is one of the many reasons why, following each national election, more than sixty percent of parliamentarians are new.
More so, besides the monthly salary and monthly allowance, there is another project called, Constituency fund for federal lawmakers. For this project, A senator is given the sum of R$7,200,000 ZAR. but not in cash. This senator is required to submit projects that are equivalent to that amount. This is meant to be carried out through an agency of government but with the senator overseeing. The problem with this is that it gives more room for corruption because more often than not, these projects are not enforced and the money is disbursed. Where does this money go? Who tracks it? What is the penalty when a senator is caught cheating the system.
As a result of the extravagant lifestyle lived by politicians coupled with the tenacity in which they fight for this office has since raised the eyebrows of South Africans. They have concluded that patriotism is not the core reason for this frenzy every four years.