Reserve Bank governor Gill Marcus. Picture: MARTIN RHODES
REPORT BACK: Reserve Bank governor Gill Marcus. The Bank's 2012-13 annual report showed that the Bank 's total staff costs rose 13.6% to R1.78bn because more people were hired, and staff received a 7% increase

RESERVE Bank governor Gill Marcus gets paid a salary almost double that of her boss, President Jacob Zuma.

According to the Bank’s 2012-13 annual report, issued on Friday, Ms Marcus was paid a hearty R4.99m.

The Reserve Bank also provided her accommodation at the official residence, a fringe benefit deemed to be worth R790000 for tax purposes. Mr Zuma’s salary was R2.62m in the same year.

Ms Marcus’s three deputies could also make the president jealous with their pay packets in the past year.

Including all benefits, Daniel Mminele pocketed R3.8m, Francois Groepe R3.56m and Lesetja Kganyago R3.81m.

This compares favourably with the R1.3m to R1.6m that Mr Kganyago would have been paid in his last full year as director-general of the Treasury.

While these amounts boggle the minds of most ordinary citizens, the Reserve Bank’s executive directors at least seem to be putting their money where their mouths are by settling for below-inflation salary increases.

Ms Marcus has, over the past year, called repeatedly for wage growth restraint, and warned about the negative effect that high salary increases have on inflation, employment growth and South Africa’s competitiveness.

At the monetary policy forum earlier this month, Mr Groepe said wage restraint did “not only refer to workers, but to all of us”.

Ms Marcus’s remuneration increased by only 4.46% from the 2012 financial year to the 2013 financial year, while the three deputy governors got average increases of 5.5%. Inflation, meanwhile, averaged 5.7% from April last year to this March.

Thandeka Mgoduso, chairwoman of the Bank’s remuneration committee, said on Friday that the Bank’s executive and nonexecutive directors would get no increases in the current financial year.

This follows a call by Mr Zuma last year that CEOs and executive directors in the private and public sectors should consent to a freeze on higher salaries and bonuses.

Ms Marcus said it was up to every institution to decide whether it wanted to implement a similar pay freeze or not. “We felt this was something important for us,” she said.

The Bank’s total staff costs rose 13.62% to R1.78bn as the central bank hired more people and gave a 7% increase to staff.

Overall, the Reserve Bank suffered a loss of R1.27bn in the year — more than three times the R409m loss of the previous year — as it cost R1.56bn to issue the new banknotes with the image of former president Nelson Mandela.

Ms Marcus said this “was not the first year” the Reserve Bank suffered losses. “We are not an institution that is driven by a profit motive. Nobody is comfortable making losses, but the objective is not to maximise profit. Our objective is to do our job. Sometimes you make profits doing that and sometimes you make losses.”

• This article was first published in Sunday Times: Business Times