In South Africa, chief executive officers (CEOs) at state-owned enterprises (SOEs) enjoy substantial salaries, with top-ranking executives earning annual incomes ranging from R2 million to R5 million. Gwede Mantashe, the country’s Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, recently disclosed these remunerations during a parliamentary Q&A session. He provided a detailed breakdown of the payouts for CEOs and other high-ranking executives at 15 state-owned companies under his purview.
It is important to note that these salaries pertain specifically to state-owned companies within the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy. The top earner among these executives is the CEO of the Central Energy Fund Group, boasting an annual income of R5.3 million. On the other end of the spectrum, company secretaries receive the lowest pay among executives, earning R1.2 million per year.
The following table presents the highest-paid CEOs at South Africa’s state-owned enterprises:
|Central Energy Fund Group
|Strategic Fuel Fund Association
|Council for Geoscience
|African Exploration Mining and Finance Corp.
|South African Nuclear Energy Corporation
|Petroleum Agency SA
|National Nuclear Regulator
|South African National Energy Dev. Institute
|South African Diamond & Precious Metals Reg.
|National Energy Regulator of South Africa
|National Radioactive Waste Disposal Inst.
|Mine Health and Safety Council
|State Diamond Trader
Although CEOs are the highest earners, other top positions at these enterprises also command million-rand salaries. Chief financial officers can earn between R1.4 million and R4.2 million; operations managers can receive between R1.6 million and R3.8 million; and regulators can make around R2.2 million annually.
At larger state-owned companies like Eskom, the pay scale is even higher. Former Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter took home over R7 million, while current acting CEO Calib Cassim earned R4.9 million in his role as chief financial officer. Transnet Group CEO Portia Derby was paid R8.5 million in 2022, while Siza Mzimela, CEO of Transnet Freight Rail, received a R6.1 million package.
Government employees also receive competitive salaries. South African ministers and deputy ministers earn between R2 million and R2.5 million annually, although they have not seen an increase in recent years. Interestingly, some top earners at smaller SOEs earn more than the president. The 2023 budget allocated R4.2 million for President Cyril Ramaphosa’s salary in 2022. However, due to salary freezes in 2020 and 2021 as a result of Covid-19, his actual pay increased to just R3 million that year.
The deputy president’s salary increased to R2.9 million, despite an initial budget allocation of R3.5 million for the year. Since 2018, President Ramaphosa has been donating half of his salary to charities, demonstrating a commitment to social responsibility.
These salary revelations shed light on the lucrative compensation packages for top executives at South Africa’s state-owned enterprises. While the highest earners are CEOs, other high-ranking positions also receive substantial salaries, reflecting the importance of these roles in driving the success of these companies.
However, the disparity between the salaries of top executives and the president raises questions about the appropriateness of such remuneration packages, especially in the context of salary freezes for government officials due to Covid-19. As South Africa continues to navigate the challenges of economic recovery and social development, the transparency and fairness of executive compensation at state-owned enterprises will remain a critical topic for debate and scrutiny.
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