State denies R66m taxpayer bill for new ministries

The government has dismissed reports that the reconfigured executive will cost taxpayers an additional R66 million a year.

“This continued inaccurate reporting is a wilful distortion of the budget appropriation process,” said acting director-general of the department of communication, Donald Liphoko, yesterday.

“The reports are misleading as Minister [Nhlanhla] Nene did not mince his words when he said the money would come from existing budgets, mostly through expenditure reprioritisation. This is by no means a suggestion of an extra burden to taxpayers”.

He said Cabinet restructuring as outlined by President Jacob Zuma was aimed at ensuring that the state operates efficiently and at its optimal level to deliver government priorities and enhance service delivery.

He was reacting to a report in the Sowetan that Zuma’s reconfigured executive has cost taxpayers nearly R66 million to set up, despite earlier assurances that it would not cost taxpayers more than R40 million.

The newspaper reported that the expenditure included nearly R34 million for the establishment of Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu’s new department, according to the national treasury’s 2014 estimates of the national expenditure released after the medium-term budget policy statement.

The remainder was spent on three ministries and four deputy ministries.

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