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The South African government is seeking to cut 30,000 state jobs and freeze pay increases for three years, according to the Congress of South African Trade Unions.

That’s part of the state’s proposal to reduce its wage bill, which makes up 35.4% of national spending spending. President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday his administration is engaging with labor and other stakeholders on measures to contain the spending on salaries and reduce wastage. There are about 1.3 million government workers.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni would announce plans to reduce spending in the Feb. 26 budget, Ramaphosa said.

“We’re not going to entertain those” proposals, said Sizwe Pamla, the spokesman for Cosatu, the country’s biggest labor federation. “Government has a right to engage with its employees but government doesn’t have the right to its own slaves.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Prinesha Naidoo in Johannesburg at pnaidoo7@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rene Vollgraaff at rvollgraaff@bloomberg.net, Gordon Bell

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