SA cabinet costs taxpayers millions

By Staff Writer
Nicolette Dirk, finance writer, Justmoney.co.za
 
The Democratic Alliance (DA) will submit a series of questions to determine the exact amount President Zuma’s new Cabinet will cost South Africans.
 
This comes after estimates suggest that the new Cabinet will cost the state R143 million in salaries per annum. It has been reported that the President’s cabinet is one of the biggest in the world with more cabinet ministers than the US, Germany and Japan, all of which have much bigger economies and broader tax bases.
 
Economist Mike Schussler told Timeslive that he wasn’t sure if a bigger cabinet would make a difference or just add to the cost of government.
 
What is our money being spent on?
 
According to Alf Lees, DA spokesperson on Standing Committee on Public Accounts, the DA will submit questions to President Zuma’s new cabinet to determine the costs and justifications for among others; budget vote cocktails, car purchases, car rentals, catering and entertainment, credit cards, flights and accommodation.
 
“The past two years saw a total of R231 million of state funds being spent by the national departments on a number of questionable items. In 2009, former Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan (pictured), warned that the state had to be more disciplined in the way it manages its money. This was followed by little to no action, only empty assurances that a new Ministerial Handbook would be introduced,” said Lees.
 
Salary increases
 
Reports state that the budget for The Presidency has gone up from R257 million in 2007 to R329 million in 2009. The cost of the cabinet rose to R727-million in 2010, R959-million in 2011 and R1.1billion in 2012. There are now estimates that the allocation for The Presidency will rise to R1.3 billion in the next three years.
 
Lees said that despite numerous promises from different Ministers of Public Service and Administration, and most recently, Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, the DA is still waiting to view the new Ministerial Handbook. 
 
“This means that there remains no way to ensure that action can be taken against Ministers for wasting state money.

Instead of wasting public money on perks and privileges, President Zuma’s government must take full responsibility for their irresponsible spending and begin the much needed belt-tightening process,” said Lees.

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