Cabinet may cost R1?bln to get going

2014-05-27 00:00

CAPE TOWN — It may cost up to R1 billion to get President Jacob Zuma’s new cabinet off the ground.

There are 35 ministers and 37 deputy ministers in his second government. Add to this the president and his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, and their ranks have swollen to 74 members, making South Africa’s executive authority one of the largest in world.

The country with the most ministers is Sri Lanka, with 67 people to lead the affairs of 21,4 million people living on the tiny island state situated below India.

In South Africa the salaries for the new ministers and deputies alone will cost the tax payer R130 million a year — excluding perks like housing and transport.

After the latest salary increases — as approved by the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers — Zuma gets paid about R2,6 million and his deputy R2,4 million a year. Ministers get R2,1 million and deputy ministers R1,7 million.

EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi yesterday said apart from the salaries of ministers, the average amount that could be spent on the security, cars and homes in Pretoria and Cape Town amounts to more than R10 million for each minister and deputy minister.

DA MP Geordin Hill-Lewis said the size of the cabinet is a disaster. “Such a large cabinet is a clumsy and inefficient affair that will cost a lot to maintain.” He said the current cabinet showed how Zuma used government to stabilise the ANC’s internal political struggles. “Look at the union and SACP leaders who got posts. It was done to pacify the president’s supporters.”

Hill-Lewis said more ministers does not mean a more effective government. “On the contrary, more ministers just lead to more confusion, especially in terms of policy.”

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