Dictionary book

South Africa gets a new ‘jobs dictionary’ for civil servants – here’s what they get

The Department of Civil Service and Administration is in the process of finalizing the “Dictionary of Civil Service Occupations”, which will serve as the definitive handbook for government jobs in South Africa.

While South African public sector jobs are already regulated, the government is grappling with rising wages, problems verifying qualifications and questions about the qualification of employees for certain positions. The dictionary aims to solve this problem by acting as a formal document for government jobs in South Africa.

The dictionary is based on contributions received by various government departments and will provide a detailed breakdown of all occupations and occupational groups within government.

It will also indicate the minimum qualifications and years of experience generally required for jobs within the occupational groups. This information will be used to inform career paths – including frontline services such as the South African Police Service.

What civil servants earn

The South African government currently employs around 13% of all workers in the country (around 1.2 million people) – but it pays 33% of all salaries.

Responding in a parliamentary written question and answer session in October 2021, Minister of Civil Service and Administration Ayanda Dlodlo said that there are currently 16 pay bands in the civil service, band 1 employees earning an average salary of R103,562. By comparison, public sector workers in band 16 currently earn an average of over R2.1 million.

Dlodlo also provided a breakdown of the number of workers in each pay band, with the highest number of workers falling between pay bands 5 and 9.

Salary bracket Total number of employees by salary level Current average salary by salary level
1 263 R103 562
2 77,651 R171 278
3 69,003 R206 957
4 38,663 R247 296
5 201 244 R283 227
6 129,361 R332 985
seven 306 703 R411 227
8 159,899 R479 868
9 99,927 R567 956
ten 54,510 R710 273
11 35,365 R851 022
12 27,399 R1 222 246
13 7,660 R1 147 609
14 2,405 R1 378 620
15 528 R1 661 168
16 712 R2 130 602

29,000 civil servants – along with members of the national executive, MPs and members of the provincial executive – earned over R1 million in 2018.

Data from the 2021 Budget shows that the average remuneration of government employees exceeded R400,000 per year in 2019, with this figure reaching the R450,000 mark in 2021.

Data released at the end of April 2022 shows that South Africa’s real average take-home pay fell to R14,969 in March.


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