Former ministers Tina Joemat-Pettersson and Dipuo Peters and former deputy minister Mcebisi Jonas promptly gave up their seats in parliament after losing their posts in the  cabinet.

Peters and Joemat-Pettersson stand to pocket as much as R3.8-million each in addition to their general pension fund benefits, thanks to a “loss of office gratuity” paid out to any MP who has served longer than one term as a public representative.

In terms of the rules of the Political Office-Bearers’ Pension Fund, an MP who vacates office gets paid a gratuity of four months’ pensionable salary for every five years of service. The gratuity is listed as an extra benefit that is paid out by a legislature  separately from the pension.

Peters and Joemat-Pettersson  backdated their resignations from parliament to March 31, before their cabinet axing, when  they were still earning around R191,000 a month, or R2.3-million a year. Had the resignations not been backdated, their gratuities would have been  almost halved.

Their taxpayer-paid “tip”  adds up, given that they have held  public office  since 1994.

It is unclear if the gratuity was the motive for the resignations.