The ruling African National Congress (ANC) has been hit with a flurry of parliamentary resignations, with nine members officially exiting the National Assembly.
In the wake of a particularly grim electoral showing, President Cyril Ramaphosa has been left to confront an arduous task – that of reunifying the deeply divided ANC, while producing positive results on his pre-election promises.
Nine ANC MP’s call it a day
The factional battle raging fiercely within the belly of the ANC is, according to analysts, the greatest threat to Ramaphosa’s political aspirations. Indeed, the insecure power balance – hung on the scales of unshakable loyalty – has already proven especially detrimental to Ramaohosa’s campaign of renewal.
While the recent flurry of resignations may, at first glance, signal a sincere attempt at cleaning house – with some persuasion from the ANC’s Integrity Committee – the truth of the exodus may be far simpler.
That Ramaphosa’s Cabinet announcement had a role to play in this mass migration of MPs from parliament is no doubt. For the MPs who have chosen to call it a day, there may be credence in the theory that exclusion from the Cabinet leaves them with little power and influence – that parliamentary representation is a ‘second prize’ not worth the podium appearance.
The more likely theory, however, is that these resignations relate directly to handsome pension benefits – particularly those afforded to former ministers.
Speaking to The Citizen about the recent flight of ANC MPs, political analyst, Daniel Silke explained:
“This really is all about the mechanics of the pension benefits from parliament.”
Big pensions over parliamentary representation
To better understand the pension benefits at play, one need not look any further than the salary discrepancies between regular MPs and Cabinet ministers. During South Africa’s fifth parliament, senior members earned R1,600,467 a year, while regular MPs cleared just over R1 million.
According to AfricaCheck, Cabinet ministers in the previous administration received an annual salary of R2,401,633, while deputy ministers were paid R1,977,795.
Pensions in parliament work similarly to pensions in the ‘real world’ – the higher your position within the organisation or administration, the greater your pay-out and the more lucrative your benefits.
With more than a 50% drop in salary for ministers relegated to ordinary parliamentary pews, it’s no wonder that ANC stalwarts like Derek Hanekom, Bathabile Dlamini, Jeff Radebe, Siyabonga Cwele and Susan Shabangu have chosen to get out ‘while the going is good’.
ANC spokesperson, Nonceba Mhlauli, added that while the exodus did leave a void in the party’s parliamentary representation – one which the party was trying to fill as swiftly as possible – former members would be used in other party-specific roles, saying:
“Their departure does leave a void within the caucus. But the caucus is quite satisfied by the knowledge that we will be able to tap into their experience over time as they’ve both indicated that they’re willing to serve the party in other capacities.”
This report does not necessarily reflects the opinion of SA-news.