July 23, 2024
Home » “Bloat or necessity?” — Ramaphosa’s expanded cabinet faces backlash

“Bloat or necessity?” — Ramaphosa’s expanded cabinet faces backlash


The recent cabinet expansion of South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has ignited a firestorm of criticism from various quarters, including opposition parties and business leaders, who argue that the increase is a step back from his initial promises of fiscal prudence and streamlined governance.

Ramaphosa’s new cabinet, comprising 32 ministers and 43 deputy ministers, has come under intense scrutiny. Despite earlier commitments to reduce the size of the executive, the president has opted for an expansion, a move that has not sat well with many South Africans. The criticism centers on concerns about wasteful government spending and the financial burden placed on taxpayers.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), a prominent opposition party, has been particularly vocal in its condemnation. EFF leaders have pointed out that each minister’s annual salary exceeds $135,000, a figure that does not include additional perks such as state security detail and generous travel allowances. This, they argue, is an extravagant use of public funds, especially in a country grappling with high unemployment rates and economic inequality.

It’s not just political adversaries who are raising alarms. Business leaders have also expressed dismay, suggesting that the bloated cabinet undermines efforts to create a more efficient and accountable government. They argue that in a time of economic constraint, the government should be demonstrating fiscal responsibility, not expanding its ranks.

The criticism has also drawn comparisons to the cabinet sizes of developed nations, many of which operate with significantly fewer ministers. For instance, the United Kingdom’s cabinet has 22 ministers, while Germany’s has 16. Critics argue that South Africa’s larger cabinet is disproportionate and unnecessary for effective governance.

In defense of the expansion, President Ramaphosa’s office has stated that the new appointments are necessary to address the pressing challenges facing the nation, including economic recovery, social development, and national security. However, this justification has done little to quell the discontent.

The controversy surrounding the expanded cabinet is likely to have long-term implications for Ramaphosa’s administration. It may affect public perception of his commitment to reducing government waste and could have electoral consequences as the country moves toward future elections.

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