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Zuma’s large Cabinet 'a waste of money'

Seisfa has questioned the president’s decision to expand his executive.

CEO of the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa, Kaizer Nyatsumba. Picture: KMN Investment Holdings.

JOHANNESBURG - The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of South Africa (Seifsa) on Monday hit out at President Jacob Zuma for expanding the size of his Cabinet once again.

The president, now in his second term in office, announced sweeping changes to his team of ministers and deputy ministers.

Zuma made his Cabinet announcement in Pretoria on Sunday evening.

[WATCH] EWN's Stephen Grootes looks at who's in and who's out in Zuma's latest Cabinet:

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.

New ministries include the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services as well as the Department of Small Business Development.

While some of the moves have been welcomed, questions were raised today by various analysts about the need for the current number of ministries.

"Our Cabinet is simply too big," says Seisfa Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kaizer Nyatsumba, who spoke to The Money Show's Bruce Whitfield on Monday evening.

"In 1994, President Nelson Mandela constituted a Cabinet made up of 28 ministers," said Nyatsumba. "That number remained the same when President [Thabo] Mbeki became president. When President Zuma came in, that number jumped to 34 and now to 35."

Listing various other countries, Nyatsumba argues that South Africa has one of the largest team of ministers in the world.

By his count, the United States has 15 department heads, Japan has 18 and Germany, which is a huge economy, has only 16 ministers.

"That is very, very big. Much of the money that will be going to paying the ministers' and deputy ministers' salaries and paying for their lifestyles should ideally be redirected to service delivery."

Others to question the size of Zuma's Cabinet today included senior analyst at the Institute for Security Studies, Judith February, and Professor Susan Booysen of the University of the Witwatersrand's Graduate School of Public and Development Management.

February says Zuma should have cut back on deputy ministers, describing the role as "a perfect example of where you can trim [from] the fat."

Booysen agrees, adding, "By definition, they don't automatically add value to this governance operation."

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