Parliament has defended the annual remuneration package offer of more than R283 000 for a bartender. It also defended the tradition of operating a cash bar for MPs and guests.
Parliament says it’s a standard procedure for many parliaments around the world, and some companies to operate bars.
Spokesperson Moloto Mothapo says the bartender will be in charge of both the bar section and the parliamentary wine-seller which is used for tourism, and to promote the South African wine industry.
Mothapo says the bartender will perform multiple tasks for the same remuneration.
“The person will have the responsibilities of being a manager, a waitron, a bartender, a cashier, a book-keeper a cleaner, responsible for the bar inventory and serving hundreds of MPs and guests to. So, the salary is consistent with the salary regime of parliament – which is bench marked from time to time to ensure that it is competitive and it is firmly in line with what parliament is paying to the rest of its staff.”
Democratic Alliance (DA) Chief Whip John Steenhuisen says the remuneration package offered is excessive.
“It is interesting. The salary seems to be rather large for the type of work that’s done, bearing in mind that the bar is only really open for members after sittings for a few hours. And it seems a bit large, but given the fact that this person has got to work with Members of Parliament, I suppose that’s also danger pay. Maybe that’s what’s been compensated in there.”
The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has also added its voice against the package offered by Parliament for the bartender post. IFP Chief Whip Narend Singh says it is more than what other workers are getting in the civil service. Singh says he will raise the IFP’s concern in the finance parliamentary committee.
“I suppose there is an organogram, and there is a structure that determines what the salaries of different people should be working within the parliamentary precinct. It does seem a bit odd though that the salary is as high as compared to other people in the civil service, and its a question that I will as member of the Finance Committee of Parliament ask when we get back to parliament”
Meanwhile United Democratic Movement Chief Whip, Nqabayomzi Kwankwa says it will be a waste of taxpayers’ money. He says MPs who need bar services should pay for those services.
“I think it’s a waste of money. A complete waste of money. Those parliamentarians who want to drink should actually pay for that R25 000 out of their own pocket. It should not come out of tax payers money, especially now that the economy is struggling. We are struggling to re-ignite growth in the economy. So there is no extra cash to play around with. Our Mps who enjoy alcohol should be paying for it out of their own pockets.”
African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) leader Kenneth Meshoe has also condemned the salary package offered by Parliament for the position of a bartender.
“The ACDP will never agree with paying a bar attendant with R25 000 when MPs are not always here. And so we believe that those who need his services must pay for his services. And not parliament using money that should be paid to other workers who don’t get that much money. There are workers here in Parliament who are here everyday serving MPs everyday. Now to have a person who is going to make members of Parliament not even to concentrate well…”