Scrap deputy ministers and save R355 million: DA

A DA-run government would slash the size of President Zuma’s R1 billion Cabinet by R355 million, by doing away with all deputy ministers.

The opposition party presented its ‘Alternative Budget 2015/16′, ahead of the 2015 South African Budget Speech, to be delivered by Nhlanhla Nene, on Thursday (26 February).

The opposition party said that the public sector wage bill is one of the government’s biggest expenditure items.

The ANC-led government allocated R439 billion to public sector wages for the year 2014-15, the DA said. This means that the public wage bill which amounted to five percent of total government expenditure in 1994, swelling to 39% in 2014-15.

“The DA maintains that the urgent restructuring of South Africa’s public sector should focus above all on eradicating incompetent, ineffective cadres clogging up the management echelon,” it said.

It noted that among the most wasteful expenditure in the public sector comes from withing Cabinet. South Africa, the DA said, has one of the largest cabinets in the world comprised of the president, deputy president, 35 ministers and 37 deputy ministers.

An extremely conservative estimate of the cost of Cabinet, taking salaries and only some of the expenditure and allowances permitted by the Ministerial Handbook into account, neared R1 billion.

“This scarcely believable figure does not include more amorphous expenses, such as the cost of the ministries’ support staff or the cost of spousal support,” the political party said.

Cabinet’s billion rand price tag includes R247 million for official vehicles alone. Travel expenses amounted to a further R244 million.

The DA called on the salaries of the executives of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) and their boards to be capped.

“Expenditure such as this, which is not only at the tax payers expense but also at the opportunity cost of alleviating the massive inequality which most South African’s face, cannot continue.”

In January,  the increase in salaries of public office bearers was approved with President Jacob Zuma’s new salary increasing to R2.7 million annually.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s salary increased from R2.47 million to R2.6 million, while ministers would receive R2.21 million from R2.1 million and the salaries of deputy ministers would increase from R1.73 million to R1.82 million.

The Speaker of National Parliament, Baleka Mbete, and Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng’s salaries would increase from R2.47m to R2.6m.

Member of Parliament’s salaries would increase from R933,852 to R989,883 while premiers’ salaries would increase from R1.98 million to R2.08 million.

Mayors would receive R1.15 million, up from R1.09 million before.

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Scrap deputy ministers and save R355 million: DA