Cape Town - It will cost the state nearly R40 million to establish the new ministries and deputy ministries in President Jacob Zuma’s cabinet, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene revealed.
There are three new ministries in the new cabinet: Water and Sanitation headed by Nomvula Mokonyane; Telecommunications and Postal Services headed by Siyabonga Cwele; and Small Business Development headed by Lindiwe Zulu.
The burgeoning cabinet also includes the reconfigured ministry of women, now situated in the Presidency.
Justice and Correctional Services has two deputy ministers responsible for justice and corrections respectively. The Department of International Relations and the ministry of co-operative governance and traditional affairs also have two deputy ministries.
The 35-strong cabinet has been estimated to cost the taxpayers about R1bn.
In a written parliamentary reply to DA MP Dr Malcolm Figg, Nene said provision would be made on existing budget votes for the establishment of new ministry and deputy ministry offices in the 2014/15 financial year.
“It will be mostly through expenditure reprioritisation, at an average R4m for a new deputy ministry and R8m for a new ministry. The carry- through costs would be provided for in each year of the 2015 medium-term expenditure framework periods by departments reprioritising their budget allocations,” Nene explained.
Departments’ operational costs must also be in line with the Treasury’s cost-saving measures, he added.
“Regarding the transfer of functions between departments, including to newly established departments, Section 33 of the Public Finance Management Act stipulates that as functions are transferred between departments, so are the associated funds.”
Figg pointed out that the new ministries would cost a “substantial amount”.
“If you are spending a lot, what are you going to get out of it? No cost benefits seem to have been done,” Figg said.
The budget votes that will soon take place in parliamentary committees have still not been finalised, he said.
“These costs – and additional R36m – have to be included. And we are probably looking at the cabinet to cost R1.3bn in total.”
Acting Presidency spokes-man Ronnie Mamoepa said President Zuma announced a new national executive last month which included a reconfiguration of some government departments.
“The affected departments have been directed to study the legal and administrative implications of the policy announcements made by the president, as per procedure.
“The process will culminate in a proclamation that will, among others, establish the new departments, transfer the administration of certain legislation from one minister to another or transfer certain functions, agencies or institutions from one department to another,” Mamoepa said.