South African Teachers’ Salary Guide: Understanding Your Rights and Benefits


Teaching is a noble profession, but it’s not without its challenges, especially when it comes to salary. As an educator, you work tirelessly to prepare the next generation of leaders, but how much do you get paid for your efforts? In this article, we will guide you through everything you need to know about South African teachers’ salaries, including your rights and benefits.

South African Teachers’ Salary Structure:

In South Africa, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) sets the salary structure for all public school teachers. The salaries are based on a performance-related pay system that takes into account factors such as qualifications, experience, and performance evaluations.

There are six salary scales in the South African teacher’s salary structure: Scale 1, Scale 2, Scale 3, Scale 4, Scale 5, and Scale 6. Teachers on Scale 1 start at R30,000 per year, while those on Scale 6 can earn up to R1.5 million per year.


In addition to your salary, South African teachers are entitled to several benefits, including:

  1. Pension Fund Contributions: The government contributes a portion of your salary towards your pension fund, which you can withdraw when you retire.
  2. Medical Aid: You are entitled to participate in the Medical Aid Scheme, which covers medical expenses for you and your family members.
  3. Transport Allowance: If you are required to travel for work purposes, you are entitled to a transport allowance.
  4. Leave Entitlements: Teachers are entitled to annual leave, sick leave, maternity leave, and other types of leave as per the Department of Basic Education’s policies.

Case Studies:

Let’s take a look at some real-life examples of how South African teachers are benefiting from the salary structure and benefits:

  1. Ms. Thandi Ntshikiza is a teacher in Gauteng who has been teaching for over 20 years. She started on Scale 1 and has now moved to Scale 5. With her current salary, she can comfortably provide for her family and save towards her retirement.
  2. Mr. Mokhosi Ralane is a teacher in Limpopo who recently graduated with a Master’s degree. He started on Scale 1 and has now moved to Scale 3. With his salary, he can afford to pay off his student loans and start saving towards his retirement.


In conclusion, South African teachers are entitled to a fair salary and several benefits that help them lead a comfortable life while providing for their families. The performance-related pay system ensures that teachers are rewarded for their hard work and dedication, which is essential in attracting and retaining quality educators. It’s important to understand your rights and entitlements as a teacher, so you can make informed decisions about your career and financial future.


Q: How often are South African teachers paid?
A: Teachers are paid monthly, usually on the last day of the month.

Q: Can I receive overtime pay as a teacher?
A: Overtime pay is not available for teachers in South Africa’s public schools.

Q: What happens if I am unable to work due to illness or injury?
A: You are entitled to sick leave and may also be eligible for disability benefits if you are unable to work for an extended period of time.

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