The government’s middle finger to South African taxpayers

South Africa’s economy is in serious trouble, but this has not stopped the government from spending billions on salaries for ministers and public servants.

Government debt is up to 55.8% of GDP, and Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has stated that an acceptable figure is below 50%.

The local economy has also suffered from slow to no growth in recent years, and the country was recently classified as being in a technical recession.

Interest rates are also expected to rise in the coming years to contain rising inflation.

Despite these clear signs of economic trouble, South Africa continues to maintain a massive public sector wage bill, and one of the largest cabinets in the world.

The public sector salary expense will account for nearly R550 billion of the government’s spend in 2018 – nearly a third of South Africa’s total budget.

Massive cabinet

South Africa supports an enormous 72-member cabinet – over double its nearest BRICS peer – which requires millions in salaries.

Other BRICS nations – consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China – come nowhere close to South Africa in this regard, despite having larger economies and populations.

Brazil has a cabinet consisting of 30 members, Russia has a cabinet of 23 members, and India and China both boast 27-member cabinets.

Compared to other significant world players, South Africa looks even worse.

Super-powers like the USA and the UK, with 33-member and 23-member cabinets respectively, outperform South Africa by a large margin.

Other big economies with smaller cabinets include Japan with 24 cabinet members, and Australia with 29 members.

Despite all of these factors, South Africa’s government continues to maintain its large cabinet – which is funded by local taxpayers.

The graph below shows South Africa’s cabinet size compared to those of other countries.

Cabinet Size

Big salaries

The salaries paid to South Africa’s large cabinet contribute to a significant part of the government’s annual wage bill.

As shown in the table below, ministers are well taken care of financially.

Cabinet Member Salaries – 2018
Deputy President R2,825,470
Minister R2,401,633
Deputy Minister R1,977,795

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The government’s middle finger to South African taxpayers