President Zuma’s massively-bloated cabinet

President Jacob Zuma surprised many people in May 2014 when he announced his new cabinet which consisted of 35 ministerial portfolios.

Instead of reducing the size of his cabinet, he unveiled an executive which was described as bloated, a monster, and a waste of money.

One of the biggest surprises was Zuma’s decision to split the former Department of Communications into two ministries: Communications and Telecommunications and Postal Services.

This large cabinet comes at a cost to taxpayers. According to Africa Check, cabinet salaries for 2014/15 come to R145 million.

Add the cost of official vehicles, travel, and accommodation, and this number can get far closer to the EFF’s claim that SA’s ministers and deputy ministers cost taxpayers R720 million per year.

It is therefore no surprise that the DA took aim at Zuma’s cabinet size in its Vision 2029 campaign.

The DA promised a government with 15 ministries that “is seen by South Africans as working for them, leading the country and providing quality services to all South Africans”.

Zuma’s cabinet versus global cabinet sizes

A comparison of cabinet sizes of some of the world and Africa’s largest economies reveal that South Africa has an excessively-large cabinet.

In many advanced economies, a single minister can be in charge of more than one ministerial portfolio. This significantly cuts down on the number of ministers.

The infographic below shows how President Jacob Zuma’s cabinet stacks up against prominent countries.

Cabinet size by country
Cabinet size by country

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President Zuma’s massively-bloated cabinet