HOW much taxpayers will shell out for South Africa’s swollen Cabinet

All the warnings about South Africa’s swollen Cabinet and the financial implications thereof appear to be coming true. Following the announcement of a 77-strong Cabinet (up from 65 members previously) by President Cyril Ramaphosa, many have worried how the state would fund such a large number of government staff. Now, Business Tech has compiled a telling article on how much these National Assembly members will cost you and I, the South African taxpayer.


Smiles all round. National Executive members instantly become millionaires when appointed to office. Image: File

In comparison with many non-emerging economies like the US, UK, Germany and France, South Africa’s swollen Cabinet is undeniably large. The ANC welcomed in nine coalition members to form a Government of National Unity (GNU) following its loss in the 29 May election. Now, Business Tech’s estimates indicate that taxpayers will have to shell out at least R1.2 billion annually for the privilege of our first coalition government since 1996. Here’s how the cost estimates breakdown:

  • Ministers and Deputies salaries – R181.33 million
  • Support staff salaries – R467.33 million
  • Additional perks – R553 million

Also, an estimated 97 homes for Ministers and Deputy Ministers in Pretoria and Cape Town are collectively worth R1 billion. Infamously, National Executives enjoy several additional perks like official government vehicles, travel, allowances, bonuses and private VIP security. These amount to more than all salaries combined.


South Africa’s swollen Cabinet
18 support staff per department created a massive drain on public funds. Image: File

According to the Guide for Members of the National Executive, each Minister is entitled to 11 support staff, with deputies entitled to seven as well … or 18 total per department. On top of this, according to the Democratic Alliance (DA), South African taxpayers paid an average of over R553 million for VIP protection, international travel, vehicles and alternative electricity, water and security for National Executive members in the sixth administration.

Costs of sixth administration:

  • VIP protection – R512 million
  • Travel – R20 million
  • Vehicles – R6 million
  • Alternative electricity, water and security – R14 million
  • Total – R553 million

Given salary increases and the fact that Ramaphosa has added more positions to his seventh administration, this is expected to increase yet again. To fight South Africa’s swollen Cabinet, the DA has long advocated for a smaller National Executive of just 15 ministries. The new Minister of Home Affairs Leon Schreiber tabled a bill recently in which he wished, “… to rein in the obscene waste of valuable public resources that currently goes towards funding Ministers and Deputies.”


South Africa’s swollen Cabinet
The seat of power, full of millionaires. Image: File

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