Cutting spending on govt depts could save SA around R1bn a year

That’s according to the Fiscal Cliff Study Group which has taken a close look at costs associated with South Africa’s 35 ministries.

FILE: Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni presenting his 2019 Budget speech. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Parliament's Finance Committees have been told that cutting spending on government ministries could save around R1 billion a year.

The Fiscal Cliff Study Group - under Professor Jannie Roussouw - has taken a close look at what South Africa's 35 ministries will each cost the fiscus this year.

The Ministry of Defence and Military Veterans has been singled out as the most expensive - its set to spend nearly R138 million.

By contrast, the Ministry of Finance will spend only R4.4 million this year.

This emerged during Wednesday’s public hearings on the Budget that was presented last week by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni.

Rossouw says the research showed surprising results.

“We’ve looked for the first time at the cost of the ministries, we have 35 of them. We’re amazed to see the most expensive ministry is Defence and Military Veterans at an annual cost of R137.7 million. This is just the minister, the deputy, personal staff, cars…[While] the cheapest ministry at R4.4 million is National Treasury.”

Rossouw says if ministries cut their costs to Treasury’s level, the government could save R1 billion a year.

“This is where we need to focus. After we’ve reined this in, we can reduce the number of Cabinet ministers. Here, we can save R1 billion.”

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)