Ramaphosa’s billion rand ‘dodgy Cabinet’ a bad first impression of new government, says ActionSA

President of ActionSA Herman Mashaba. Picture: Timothy Bernard / Independent Newspaper

President of ActionSA Herman Mashaba. Picture: Timothy Bernard / Independent Newspaper

Published Jul 1, 2024


ActionSA has expressed its displeasure at the announcement of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Cabinet and the fact that taxpayers will now have to dig deep into their pockets for salaries.

South Africans had been on the edge of their seats as everyone awaited the announcement of those taking over ministerial positions in the new Government of Unity (GNU). Ramaphosa announced his much-anticipated Cabinet on Sunday, June 30.

President of ActionSA, Herman Mashaba said the ‘bloated and compromised cabinet’ is a bad first impression for this new government.

“Contrary to past commitments by both President Ramaphosa and the Democratic Alliance (DA), the appointment of 32 Ministers and 42 Deputy Ministers shows that when they stand to benefit, their principles soon fall by the wayside.

“South Africans have been calling for a reduction in the size of the cabinet for years, given that our country has one of the largest cabinets in the world in the context of a country where most of its citizens languish in poverty and struggle to keep up with the cost of living,” Mashaba said.

He said the new cabinet will cost over R1 billion annually in benefits and perks, with R183 million allocated to salaries of ministers and deputy ministers.

“Among other perks afforded to cabinet ministers, taxpayers can expect annually to cover R2.68 million in salaries for each minister and R2.2 million for each deputy minister. On top of this, taxpayers will cover over R500 million for VIP protection and security and over R390 million for support staffing. These staggering figures does not even account for the additional costs associated with luxury residences afforded to ministers and deputy ministers.

“In April 2019, the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) submitted a substantive report to President Ramaphosa on the macro-reorganisation of the state, following his 2018 Sona commitment to reduce cabinet. No action has since been taken.

“Meanwhile, in May last year, the DA’s Dr Leon Schreiber introduced what he referred to publicly as the “Cut Cabinet Perks Bill” in Parliament. It remains to be seen whether the ANC and DA will continue to pursue these objectives within the new grand coalition where loyalty depends on patronage and perks,” Mashaba said.

He said of equal concern is the retention of cabinet members that have been implicated in illegal activities and said this signalled this new government is likely to be led by those who have failed before or those who would resist any effort to root out corruption.

“Despite months of reporting on Paul Mashatile’s corrupt activities, including how he possibly benefited from tender corruption, he was again included as Deputy President. Meanwhile, Angie Motshekga, who for decades has been unable to turn around basic education, was rewarded with a ministerial position as well as Blade Nzimande who bungled the management of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

“ActionSA asserts that this new grand coalition government failed to put a reformist foot forward. Years of opposition parties publicly calling for a smaller cabinet and the replacement of failed or implicated ministers have been silenced. This is precisely why ActionSA believes, now more than ever, the voice of an uncompromised unofficial opposition is going to be required,” Mashaba said.

He also stated this was the time where this new government will be held accountable.

“We send the following message to this new government: You are now in government and you, and you alone, are accountable for the direction of our country. You can no longer rely on fear tactics of ‘what-could-have-been-governments’ anymore. Now is the time to reform our country and now is the time we are going to hold you to account for the change you bring,” Mashaba said.