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Size of Zuma's Cabinet under scrutiny

With an extra ministry and four more deputy ministers, Zuma's new Cabinet is bigger than ever.

President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The size of President Jacob Zuma's Cabinet has come under scrutiny, with some opposition parties saying government will incur more costs.

With an extra ministry and four more deputy ministers, Zuma's National Executive is now bigger than ever.

Zuma made the announcement at Tshedimosetso House in Hatfield, Pretoria a day after his inauguration at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

He said the changes would help drive radical socio-economic change over the next five years.

"I announced on Saturday that we have entered the second phase of our transition to a national democratic society. I also said this would be a radical phase of socio-economic transformation."

The new cabinet has 35 ministers, of which only 14 have managed to hang on to their portfolios.

Eight of Zuma's previous Cabinet members have been shown the door and another six have been demoted or moved sideways.

There have been promotions, demotions, sackings and sideways shuffles.

Former Minister of Public Enterprises Malusi Gigaba has been appointed Minister of Home Affairs. Former Western Cape Premier Lynne Brown takes over from Gigaba as Minister of Public Enterprises.

Former Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan makes way for his deputy Nhlanhla Nene.

As Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Gordhan is under pressure to ensure delivery before the 2016 municipal elections.

Faith Muthambi has replaced Yunus Carrim as Minister of Communications.

It's the second-time around for veteran minister Lindiwe Sisulu, who has been put back in charge of housing delivery.

Zuma has appointed Sisulu as Minister of Human Settlements, in place of Connie September, who's been fired.

Sisulu was housing minister under former President Thabo Mbeki and says improving housing delivery is crucial.

"I chair social transformation in the ANC. We identify that to be a critical point if we're going to win the 2015 elections."

One of the completely revamped government clusters is that of security, with changes to the ministries of justice, police and state security.

Cabinet veteran Jeff Radebe has lost his former top job at justice and is moving to the presidency.

Michael Masutha takes over what is now the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services while Mthethwa has been demoted from police to arts and culture.

Former Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa is in political Siberia with arts and culture, left vacant by Paul Mashatile's sacking.The new police minister is Nkosinathi Nhleko, who is a former director general of the Department of Labour and a former corruption buster.

Former Minister of State Security Siyabonga Cwele has been appointed as Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services. Provincial official David Mahlobo takes Cwele's place.

These changes appear to indicate Zuma wasn't happy with how the cluster was operating.

These ministers will now be in charge of the security cluster's court case against Public Protector Thuli Madonsela over her Nkandla report.

POLITICAL REACTION

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa's Irvin Jim has criticised the president's new Cabinet, saying people who defended Zuma and those who have been embroiled in scandals have been rewarded.

Jim said a case-in-point is the appointment of former national police commissioner Bheki Cele as the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Cele was axed over a leasing scandal two years ago.

Economic Freedom Fighters spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said the new government is going to cost too much money.

"You are going to spend about R10 million per annum on each and every minister and deputy minister in terms of their protection, cars, homes and salaries."

Meanwhile the ANC, Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the South African Communist Party have welcomed last night's announcement.

Cosatu President Sidumo Dlamini said he was impressed with the appointment of Gordhan to the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

He said Gordhan was the right man to clean up corruption in the sector.

"We want somebody who will be able to respond to the service delivery protests. As workers, we don't judge any person before that person performs or fails to perform."

The ANC will hold a full press conference on this matter later today.

BLOATED CABINET

Some analysts say the president has missed an opportunity to trim down what many regard as a bloated Cabinet.

Judith February, senior analyst at the Institute for Security Studies, said Zuma should have cut back on deputy ministers.

"That, I think, is a perfect example of where you can trim the fat."

Wits University professor Susan Booysen agrees.

"By definition they don't automatically add value to this governance operation."

Political analyst Richard Calland said appointments were a balance of political considerations, which included rewarding loyalists.

"He likes to take full advantage of the opportunities for patronage."

Calland said a bloated executive was expensive and unwieldy.

"How do people who have got scandals get created positions? If you are a problem you get deployed to provincial, if you are a problem in the province you get deployed to national," commented political analyst Ralph Mathekga.

He added that executive appointments were also a way to reward loyalties.

"Of course you have more deputies because you need to pay back to that network of patronage and support and loyalty within the party."

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