Skip to content

South Africa Is on Collision Course With Civil Servants Over Pay

  • Government will unilaterally implement its pay-increase offer
  • Compensation accounts for 31.4% of total state expenditure
Enoch Godongwana

Enoch Godongwana

Photographer: Dwayne Senior/Bloomberg

South Africa’s government will impose below-inflation wage increases on its 1.3 million workers, setting it on a collision course with labor unions that are closely allied to the ruling party.

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana’s budget update on Wednesday provides for the state’s wage bill to increase by an average of just 3.3% in the three years through March 2026, less than anticipated inflation. Talks with labor unions have all but collapsed, and the Department of Public Service and Administration has pledged to implement its offer of 3% increases and 1,000-rand ($56) monthly cash allowances. Unions are demanding raises of 6% to 10%.