Bigger Cabinet to cost SA more than half a billion

The creation of a bigger Cabinet and presidency will cost the country more than half a billion rand in “unforeseeable” expenses this year.

According to the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS), tabled by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan on Tuesday, an extra R89,9-million has been allocated to President Jacob Zuma’s office.

The document says this will fund “expenditure related to the appointment of the new president, the deputy president, an additional minister and the newly established Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities”.

The MTBPS also allocates an additional R150-million to the Department of Public Works. The funds are needed to provide offices and housing for the new ministers and deputy ministers in Zuma’s enlarged Cabinet, which boasts an additional eight ministries.

The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform has been allocated an extra R259-million, which will go towards its new land reform programme.

The newly created Department of Economic Development, headed by Minister Ebrahim Patel, will get R29-million to cover its operational expenditure and employees’ salaries.

Other additional costs include R4,3-million for the Department of Tourism to foot its salary bill and the running of the office of the deputy minister, and R8-million for the new Department of Higher Education and Training headed by Minister Blade Nzimande.

The money will be used to cover the operational costs of the new ministry.

The Department of Mineral Resources will get R10-million more than planned to cover similar expenses.

The departments of human settlements, transport, water affairs and public service and administration will each get an additional R3-million to pay for the offices of their deputy ministers.

The total allocation for the unforeseeable expenditure is R562,1-million.—Sapa

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