Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma
's salary came under scrutiny during the public servants pay protest outside Parliament on Tuesday, when Cosatu secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi
reeled off the pay of government officials, in comparison with "ordinary" employees.
"If my memory serves me right he (Zuma) is earning more than R2.2m," said Vavi.
"He has blood like we have blood. He has a big family like we do. He has children to feed like we do. Our needs are the same. We want geld (money). Ons soek geld (we want money)."
He then told protesters that the minimum wage for a police officer was R7 000 a month, correctional services workers R7 050, prosecutors R9 723 and magistrates R15 732 "for reading all those law books and summarising all those cases".
In comparison to directors general earning R100 000 a month and ministers R143 000 a month, he regarded the 8.6% that civil servants were seeking as "peanuts".
"In the private sector we know the statistics are much worse, but we elected the ANC to the public sector... and they are making it absolutely stinking. We are saying to you... you have a conscience, remunerate properly."
Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the Independent Labour Caucus (ILC), which represents independent unions in the public service, have jointly turned down the government's 7% pay offer and members of affiliates to both are participating in the strike.
Negotiators are expected to meet again in Centurion, Pretoria on Tuesday night but ILC spokesperson Chris Klopper said he was not holding his breath for an immediate improved offer.
They considered Tuesday's protest and stayaway a success, but said the government would probably play it down.
Klopper said about one-third of their representatives fell into the essential services category and would not have been allowed to strike.
Cosatu negotiator Mugwena Maluleka said he hoped the government would change its mind after seeing the "might of the workers".'Down with the fat cats'
At the Union Buildings in Pretoria, where Public Service and Administration Minister Richard Baloyi
received a memorandum of demands, Grace Joyce from the SA Democratic Teachers' Union in Mabopane said that an impending nationwide strike could be on the cards.
She said that as a teacher she felt sorry that children would suffer, but, as a parent, she was also worried, because on her salary she could not make ends meet.
"As teachers we cannot afford to school our own children. I can't pay for medical aid. We can't afford to keep our children."
Another man, who did not want to give his name, marched away from the south lawns of the Union Buildings, angrily saying: "If they won't listen we are going to ungovern this government."
"Down with the fat cats," another man shouted.
Among union demands, was a R1 000 housing allowance and the filling of vacant posts in the public service.
A trip to some public institutions in Johannesburg showed schools and home affairs offices appeared to be the most adversely affected.
In downtown Johannesburg home affairs could only hand out completed identity documents and was not offering other services.
Home affairs spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa said, however, that the impact had been minimal with only 11% of staff members heeding the call to strike and only four of their 380 offices closing - in Cradock, Mthatha, Piet Retief and Nelspruit.
"Services at all our 72 ports of entry, land and airports have not been negatively affected with immigration services being rendered without any major disruptions," he said
A survey of some schools in Johannesburg found that pupils opted to go home when teachers did not arrive.
"My children said they're sitting there doing nothing," said one parent, who wished to remain anonymous, as she picked up her children and her niece from Greenside High School.
The health department said that according to their reports, there were varying levels of disruption throughout the provinces and they may refer patients to less affected facilities within a province, or across provincial boundaries, where necessary.
After a meeting at the Durban City Hall, ahead of that province's protest march on Thursday, there were threats to close hospitals and clinics.
"We will close wards and clinics come Thursday. We are called essential services but the employer does not treat us as essential," said Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA deputy provincial chairperson Sibonelo Cele.