New Cabinet may cost R1-billion

President Jacob Zuma’s new expanded Cabinet may cost the public nearly R1-billion, the Star newspaper reported on Tuesday.

On Sunday, Zuma announced his Cabinet which created six new ministries.

The Star, using the Treasury’s annual estimates for national expenditure for 2009, said the smallest ministries cost more than R300-million each. At even half of that cost, the new ministries would still cost R900-million.

The new Cabinet has created positions for six new ministers and eight deputy ministers. The paper reported that their salaries alone are estimated to cost R20,3-million.

The education ministry and minerals and energy ministry were both split in two.

The environmental affairs and tourism ministry was split, with the former being incorporated into water affairs and forestry. Tourism was given its own portfolio.

Two new ministries were created, namely economic development and women, youth, children and people with disability.

A new minister in the Presidency was created to be staffed by former finance minister Trevor Manuel who will be part of a newly established National Planning Commission.

National Treasury spokesperson Thoraya Pandy was reported as saying the new costs were not yet known but that planning has started to budget for them.

Pandy said most of the new costs would be for accommodation, staff and salaries.

“At the moment we don’t know what size the ministries will be,” she was quoted as saying.

Zuma, who campaigned hard on a pro-poor platform promising change and a renewed focus on service delivery warned civil servants that “the era of hard work has begun”.

“We reiterate that we will not tolerate laziness and incompetence and that we will emphasise excellence and achievement from the Cabinet and the public service,” he said.

“With these objectives in mind, I am confident that the new structures of government will enable the state machinery to speed up service delivery,” he said of his new Cabinet, inflated to 34 ministers and 28 deputy ministers.

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