Financial implications for a reduced Cabinet, says Malegapuru Makgoba

Deputy chairperson of the National Planning Commission (NPC) professor Malegapuru Makgoba explained why the size of Cabinet should be kept at a minimum.

President Cyril Ramaphosa sings the national anthem at his inauguration ceremony at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on 25 May 2019. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

CAPE TOWN - President Cyril Ramaphosa has yet to announce his new Cabinet, but there’s keen interest in how he’ll reduce a bloated executive.

Much of the focus will be on who’s appointed, and to which portfolio, while it’s also expected the president may merge departments.

And South Africans will want to know the financial implications of such a reconfiguration of the executive.

The number of ministers and deputies has ballooned over the years, from 50 under former President Thabo Mbeki, to 72 under former President Jacob Zuma.

The increase has also seen the total budget for VIP protection rise to R1.5 billion in 2018/19 financial year.

That’s not where it ends, with the Department of Public Works budgeting R188 million to buy ministerial residences.

Deputy chairperson of the National Planning Commission (NPC) Professor Malegapuru Makgoba explained why the size of Cabinet should be kept at a minimum.

“If you look at the size of the country, you’ll come to a figure of 10. If you then look at the size of the country to the Cabinet that they had, and you have to cluster them, you’ll come to a figure of about 14.”

He said key portfolios, like finance and education, could stay on and other departments should be clustered.

Makgoba added the National Development Plan, which Ramaphosa helped draft, could also assist him in reconfiguring a tight Cabinet.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)