There’s no denying that Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet is far too big. In a time where the economy is struggling, every possible way to use public funds efficiently needs to be found.
It’s simple: our government needs to find ways to save money, and there’s no better way than to start at the top.
Ramaphosa’s cabinet consists of 35 cabinet ministers and 37 deputy ministers‚ all allocated official houses for Cape Town and Pretoria with support staff stationed in two cities.
Ex-president Jacob Zuma had a bloated 73-member cabinet, while Thabo Mbeki had 50.
The running of the cabinet is estimated to be costing the taxpayer over R700 million per year, with ministers earning more than R2 million per annum, and deputy ministers earning over R1.9 million per year.
Ramaphosa, in his State of the Nation address earlier this year, said he would reduce the size of his cabinet and streamline government departments. He said there was no quick fix to the solution, and would need time to investigate ways to do this. In his first Cabinet reshuffle he didn’t reduce its size. However, it seems he has reached that time to make the necessary cuts.
In a report in the Mail & Guardian yesterday, it was revealed that the party will trim the public service, starting with getting rid of at least 30 000 state workers over the next three years, according to ANC insiders. The paper reported that R4 billion will be set aside to pay for retrenchment packages, though an estimated R20 billion would ultimately be saved in wages.
Labour federation Cosatu and the Public Servants’ Association said they were aware of the planned job cuts and would oppose them.
Ramaphosa is in for a fight, but it’s one he will have to take head on if he is serious about ensuring the most efficient allocation of public resources.