Zuma’s bloated cabinet in pictures: Global comparison

By Lucy Ferreira

Jacob Zuma’s second inauguration as president of South Africa was a swank affair with flying displays and an array of South Africa’s best efforts at haute couture. Perhaps it even elicited the rays of hope for a presidential term that will actually deliver something on its promises.

This glow has been lengthened here at BizNews home by Tourism South Africa’s emotional rendition of #MeetSouthAfrica, urging all of us to rethink how we see our exquisite land. If you haven’t seen the video yet, here is the link Meet South Africa.

Sadly however, our little moment of refreshed hope has been dashed by an unsurprising eye-opener that we came across on MyBroadband, whose founder Rudolph Muller  has kindly allowed us to republish. The MyBroadband infographics shed new light on the realities of Zuma’s newly appointed cabinet, what it is costing the nation and how it compares to developed, first-world economies.

Remember when reading this that SA’s economy is under one third of one percentage point of the global economy; or put differently, one seventy fifth the size of the US. Indeed, if SA were a State of that nation, its economy would rank it 17th – behind Indiana; and one seventh the size of California; one sixth of Texas.

Zuma has not only enlarged his already swollen cabinet, he added ministries. MyBroadband, an expert in the ICT sector, expanded on this: “There is 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.”

Another commentator on the topic, Leader of the Official Opposition Helen Zille, voiced similar insights: “President Jacob Zuma’s announcement of his new cabinet does not inspire confidence that South Africa’s major challenges – weak economic growth, unemployment and corruption – will be tackled effectively in the President’s second term. President 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. It is clear that these new positions have little to do with efficiency, and everything to do with solving the ANC’s internal political problems at public expense.”

Cabinet Size By Country

MyBroadband also alluded to the significant expenses the cabinet imbues: “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.”

SA Cabinet Salary Bill


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