Monday, November 02, 2009

Gravy train running on time

Struggling to keep head above water in the new South Africa? Services not up to scratch? Too bad. The ANC fatcats don't care. Your performances in the real world may be based on obtaining actual results, y'know, a thing called profit and what's that other one, service delivery - but not in the la la land inhabited by our new beau monde. They play musical boardroom chairs. Fired from one, hired at another, round and round they go, where it ends, nobody knows. The list of people belong to the who's who of failed parastatals yet they still get to keep their millions. Ahh, the whiff of banana is getting stronger.

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Half of the top 10 earners of 2008 are now no longer at their posts. If Transnet's trains are not running on time, it could be because they are filled with gravy.


A new list compiled by
Who Owns Whom for the Sunday Times Rich List, on earnings at SA's top parastatals and other selected state organisations, shows that in 2008, Transnet fat cats dominated the list.

Among the top 10 earners, six are from the transport parastatal. It paid no less than 12 of its executives more than R4.8-million each. All 12 appear in the top 20 earners and collectively raked in over R80-million in one year.

This included massive performance bonuses of, in most cases, more than their basic salary.

The highest-paid was former Transnet CEO Maria Ramos, now the chief executive of Absa, who took home R11.2-million, including a R4.85-million salary and a massive R5.79-million performance bonus.

Former Denel boss Shaun Liebenberg, who earned R8.35-million in 2008, including a performance bonus of R4.1-million, was second ranked.

Third was Transnet's former chief operating officer Louis an Niekerk, who earned R8.2-million including a R3.6-million salary and a R4.3-million performance bonus. Since the commissioning of the list, the Transnet 2009 annual report has been published, showing Van Niekerk took a drop in salary, earning R7.2-million in 2009.

He was followed by Chris Wells, Transnet's former financial director and now the acting CEO, who took home R7.8-million, including a salary of R3.35-million and a performance bonus of R4.1-million in 2008. In 2009, his package also dropped by R1-million.

The fifth-highest earner on the list was Eskom's former CEO Thulani Gcabashe, who pocketed R7.76-million, including a R4.2-million "other benefit", which was the settlement of long-term incentive awards and payment for the conclusion of his contract, despite not fulfilling it as he left before the contract ended.

Siyabonga Gama, the head of Transnet Freight Rail, who has been suspended from his post and is the subject of an investigation and disciplinary action, earned R7.5-million, which included a R3.2-million salary and R3.7-million performance bonus. In 2009, when a report on Gama had already come into the possession of the CEO and the board, Gama still earned R6.2-million, including a performance bonus of R2.4-million.

Industrial Development Corporation CEO Geoffrey Qhena and chief financial officer Gert Gouws, who are among the few in the top 10 who are still in their jobs, earned R7.3-million and R6.3-million, respectively, ranking them seventh and ninth. These included performance bonuses of R3.7-million and R2.4-million, respectively.

Transnet's Pradeep Maharaj and Vuyo Kahla, ranked eighth and 10th, earned R6.37-million and R6.2-million, respectively, including performance bonuses.

Numbers 11, 12 and 13 were all Transnet executives (Tau Morwe, Moira Moses and Richard Vallihu), and they were followed by Khaya Ngqula, the former boss of SAA, who earned R5.9-million in 2008.

While the list tracks all earnings last year, it has since emerged, in SAA's 2009 annual report, that Ngqula earned R13.65-million this year. This included a salary of R3.8-million, and a R9.4-million payment to go away. He also earned R756000 retention premium, offset by a R1.3-million repayment of his retention bonus.

Ngqula remains subject of a forensic investigation into his tenure at SAA.

Alan Mukoki, who left the Land Bank amid controversy over making loans outside of his mandate, was paid R4.7-million to go away, brining his earnings for the year to R5.9-million. His basic salary was R811000.

Zweli Myeza, the former head of the Civil Aviation Authority, was paid R5.4-million including a salary of R855000 and R4.4-million to go away.

Sipho Mkhize, the head of the Petroleum Oil & Gas Corporation, earned R4.6-million.

The controversial former head of the SABC, Dali Mpofu, earned R4.5-million including a R2-million performance bonus. His right-hand man, finance head Robin Nicholson, was paid R3.4-million, including a R1.5-million performance bonus; former news head Snuki Zikalala took home R2.3-million, including a performance bonus of R538000.

News that former Public Protector Lawrence Mushwana was paid a R6.8-million "gratuity" on leaving his post, despite taking up another public office at the Human Rights Commission, has thrown light on the increasing largesse of government departments to civil servants.

Pay at state-owned enterprises is increasingly resembling that of the private sector, with huge termination payouts, performance bonuses and retention benefits - all at taxpayers' expense.

The earnings list shows that half of the top 10 earners of 2008 are no longer in their posts, which may sound a warning bell to remuneration committees so eager to pay all sorts of retention bonuses and other payments to keep people.

The research also shows that while SA's 20 top-earning civil servants should be earning between R3.3-million and R4.8-million, had they just earned their salaries. But they did, in fact, earn between R4.6-million and R11.2-million, once all of their bonuses and additional benefits were added.

Many of the numbers do not include additional benefits which are sometimes disclosed, but not as part of salary. For example, Eskom's top directors have housing loans amounting to millions of rands each, while SAA directors take hundreds of free trips.

The list, which is not extensive but shows the earnings of numerous selected state-owned entities, reveals that 182 civil servants earned over R1-million. - Times Live

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