Radical liposuction prescribed for state blubber

25 February 2018 - 00:00 By PHILANI NOMBEMBE

Apart from the floundering economy and state capture, President Cyril Ramaphosa has another huge problem: the size of his cabinet.
Unions and opposition parties are pressing Ramaphosa to make good on his promise to trim the executive team assembled by his predecessor, Jacob Zuma.
The DA estimates South Africa could save R4.7-billion a year if the 74-member executive - the president, deputy president, 35 ministers and 37 deputies - was slashed by reducing the number of ministries to 15."You can't have 259 members of the ruling party in parliament and 72 of them are in the executive. Who are they accountable to? The bloating of the public service is unnecessary and there is a lot that can be saved," he said.
Alf Lees, the DA's deputy finance spokesman, said government entities with highly paid CEOs and boards were part of the problem. "It is also a question of consolidation of the actual departments and getting rid of the extra personnel ... because there is a huge overlap, particularly in the economic activity departments between trade and industry, economic development, small business and so on."
Cabinet members enjoy a long list of perks ranging from car allowances and meals to accommodation and flights.
Cabinet members can live for free in a state-owned home in Pretoria or Cape Town. The state pays for renovations and a domestic worker for their official and private homes.
Cabinet members and their spouses fly first class for official international trips. Both cabinet member and spouse are entitled to 30 business-class domestic air tickets per year while their dependent children receive six economy-class air tickets a year.
Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba warned in this week's budget speech that some government departments were at risk of hitting their salary ceilings. The R587-billion public sector wage bill is projected to rise to R630-billion by 2020.
• South Africa has 35 ministries, 35 cabinet ministers and 37 deputy ministers.
• The ministries of rural development and land reform and international relations and cooperation each have two deputy ministers.
• The deputy president, ministers and their deputies received a 3.8% salary increase in December. The deputy president earns R2.8-million, ministers R2.4-million and deputies R1.9-million.
• The 35 ministers cost the taxpayer more than R84-million annually and their 37 deputies cost more than R73-million.

This article is reserved for Sunday Times subscribers.

A subscription gives you full digital access to all Sunday Times content.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Registered on the BusinessLIVE, Business Day or Financial Mail websites? Sign in with the same details.

Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@timeslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.