Ramaphosa: This is why we need so many Cabinet Ministers

President Cyril Ramaphosa says he needed to increase the number of people in his Cabinet to respond to South Africa’s current specific needs.

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Elmond Jiyane.

President Cyril Ramaphosa says he needed to increase the number of people in his Cabinet to respond to South Africa’s current specific needs.

Durban – South Africa’s political elite, the Cabinet Ministers and their deputies cost the South African taxpayers

The taxpayer pays for their air tickets, transport, accommodation and catering.

So when President Cyril Ramaphosa increased what many critics believe was an already bloated Cabinet from 28 to 30 ministers during a reshuffle last week – there was an outcry from certain sectors.

The two ministries that were added were Electricity and Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation.

The 30 Ministers in the South African Cabinet will each take home a little over R2.4 million per annum, according to the 2019 Guide for Members of the executive committee, which equates to a total spend of around R600m a year to the tax payer.

President Ramaphosa on Monday moved to fight back against the criticism levelled against his move to increase his Cabinet, arguing that the discussion has unfortunately been reduced to a head counting exercise.

Writing in his weekly address to the nation, Ramaphosa said there had been “little analysis of why we made these changes and whether they were necessary”.

He said the new ministries announced last week are a response to our current specific needs.

“As I explained in the State of the Nation Address, we need a Minister to coordinate and drive our response to the electricity crisis. This is a temporary position, and the Minister will remain in office only for as long as it is necessary to resolve the crisis,” Ramaphosa said.

“The second new ministry, for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, arises from an appreciation that we need a dedicated focus on ensuring that government effectively implements the programmes that underpin our priorities and is able to fix problems as they arise,” he added.

Ramaphosa said that when considering the size of the executive, the question South Africans should ask is how best government should be organised to meet the country’s needs.

He said South Africa still had vast urgent, and pressing developmental needs that included undoing the “devastating and enduring legacy of apartheid”.

He said South Africa needed an active and capable, developmental state, adding that the country needs to have the resources and ability to tackle challenges like poverty, joblessness, homelessness, illiteracy, lack of social infrastructure and a significant burden of disease.

“Countries with developed economies that do not face these problems may well not need such an active state. The size and design of their governments may be very different to ours. When it comes to building a capable and developmental state, the foremost consideration is how to organise every part of government, including the executive, to effectively implement the electoral mandate. The country’s needs will change over time, and we will learn from our lived experience. Therefore, government has to adapt and be responsive,” Ramaphosa said.


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