With 35 ministers’ and 37 deputy ministers’ salaries to pay, President Jacob Zuma’s new cabinet is set to cost South Africa over R143 million a year – excluding perks.
On Sunday, 25 May 2014, the president announced the new ministers and deputy ministers who will serve as members of the national executive.
Many people expected Zuma to trim down his bloated cabinet, but he surprised analysts by announcing new ministries.
Among them, a new ministry of telecommunications and postal services, and a ministry of communications – a decision which many experts slated.
South Africa now has 35 ministers and 37 deputy ministers, making it a very large cabinet when compared to developed nations.
What is striking is that many ministers in developed countries are in charge of multiple portfolios or ministries – something which is not the case locally.
It was therefore no surprise that industry players started to complain about this issue.
“Zuma’s new Cabinet is too big and will be too costly,” the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) said on Monday.
“A developing country like ours, with a small tax base and whose economy has been seriously under-performing, cannot afford such a bloated Cabinet.”
DA leader Helen Zille said that Zuma’s new, even bigger cabinet is bad news for economic growth and job creation.
“Zuma has expanded his already excessively large executive to include more new departments and several additional deputy ministers. What the government needs is a leaner, more effective administration, not an ever-growing executive,” said Zille.
Large cabinet, large salary bill
With a large cabinet comes a large salary bill. The South African president currently earns R2,622,561 per year, while his deputy gets R2,478,378 per year.
Every minister gets paid R2,106,607 per annum, while deputy ministers earn R1,734,835.
But salaries are only one part of the story. Ministers enjoy many expensive perks, including travel expenses, state housing, high level security, and more.
These expenses can easily exceed the salary of a minister, as seen by housing upgrades to Nkandla which exceeded Zuma’s annual salary by 9,380%.
South Africa’s new cabinet salary bill is expected to be around R143,000,000. This number excludes all ministerial expenses, which may well run into hundreds of millions of rands more.
This article first appeared on MyBroadband.