Despite the huge gap between politicians’ salaries and the average South African salaries, ordinary South Africans are further expected to pay for the government’s failures while politicians are exempted from them.

It was revealed earlier that the secretary of parliament earns more than R4 million per year and that this is almost twice the salary that was agreed upon when he was appointed as secretary just over a year ago.

“In the midst of sharp price increases that erode their quality of life, consumers have to watch as government officials earn more and more and are seemingly not at the mercy of the many crises ordinary citizens face,” says Thys van Zyl, CEO of Everest Wealth.

“The average South African salary is somewhere between R15 000 and R25 000 per month, but there are millions of South Africans who earn much less than that. Another possible interest rate increase, high fuel prices and sharp price increases in items such as transport, electricity and food are forcing consumers to their knees. The average salary in the country is also not increasing at the same rate and South Africans are getting poorer and poorer.”

On the other hand, public officials are among the highest paid South Africans and they also enjoy lavish benefits. “President Cyril Ramaphosa and his cabinet get generous perks such as almost free housing, luxury vehicles and are kept safe at taxpayers’ expense and protected from the devastating impact of load shedding by taxpayers who have to pay for generators. A highly paid, bloated, but poorly performing executive therefore continues unhindered to milk the tax cow for all it’s worth.”

Consumers who are already straining are also further confronted with the possibility of even higher taxes to finance the state’s failures and projects. “Consumers already have enough concerns, but at the same time there are also noises being made by the government that VAT may possibly be increased to continue funding grants while there is also talk of tax increases to fund the state’s projects such as the National Health Insurance (NHI). “

Taxpayers may therefore have to pay even more going forward, while millions upon millions of rands of tax money are stolen or wasted.

“Just over 2.5 million people pay 84% of all personal income tax. Many taxpayers are also in effect double taxed as they have to obtain private services because the government does not provide the services for which tax money should be used. These include privatized security services and privatized medical services.

“Taxpayers have to watch every month how a large part of their hard-earned money is taken by the government and in return they get no or poor services while there are almost daily reports of how tax money is stolen or wasted.”

All this means that consumers are only going to have to work more carefully with their finances as they have less and less money in their wallets but have to shell out more to keep up. “It is more important than ever that consumers should budget properly to make sure they can keep up with the price increases and to see where they can cut back. Every extra cent should be used to pay off debt and to try to save to have an emergency fund in place.

“Consumers should look further where they can potentially save money. This includes, among other things, being smart with taxes and with investments. Consumers need to think long-term as they attempt to weather financial storms. It is important for consumers to adopt behaviours that can help them save. In the meantime, many South Africans turn to a second job to try to supplement their income.”