Plans afoot to reduce cabinet

President Cyril Ramaphosa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Image: Moeletsi Mabe

President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to cut cabinet to 25 and appoint deputy ministers only where the work load requires it.

Ramaphosa is expected to do the changes after the elections, should the ANC win.

Should Ramaphosa's plan succeed, he would return the cabinet to almost the similar size under former president Thabo Mbeki.

The cabinet increased in 2009 under the administration of former president Jacob Zuma who created new ministries and separated some departments.

Under Mbeki there were 29 ministers and 20 deputy ministers compared to 35 ministers and 37 deputies under Zuma.

Zuma created several new ministries such as small business, economic development and water and sanitation.

He also created basic education and higher education from one ministry.

In his maiden State of the Nation Address, Ramaphosa committed to reducing cabinet.

Sources close to the process told Sowetan the work was under way and even ANC officials had been briefed about the plan.

"The plan will work because some of the tainted ministers [mentioned] in the state capture activities will not return to cabinet," a source said.

Another senior ANC leader claimed that a report on cabinet indicated that some of the new ministries created under Zuma had not performed well.

"We are looking at merging some of the ministries while we appoint several accounting officers who will be in charge of implementation."

Yesterday, spokesperson for the department of public service Mava Scott said the work on the reconfiguration of government had been ongoing and a great deal of thinking had been around how to make government more efficient, looking at capacity and skills.

"Unfortunately, the issue of numbers has not been the driving force around these conceptual discussions.

"We cannot confirm which ministries will be phased out or not. Minister for public service [Ayanda Dlodlo] will submit the analytic report on reconfiguration of government within the current term."

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