Coalition govt will require similar size Cabinet: PSAM

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The Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM) says it is skeptical if the Cabinet of the seventh administration will be trimmed. This follows concerns that the outgoing Cabinet which is made out of 30 ministers was bloated.

The outgoing Cabinet has 30 Ministers and 36 Deputy Ministers. The Public Service Accountability Monitor says when compared to some of the first world countries, South Africa’s Cabinet is significantly larger.

PSAM however says when compared to some of the African countries is it slightly smaller. It is appealing to the incoming administration to restore the trust in the effectiveness of the Cabinet.

“We would recommend that if the Cabinet is to remain of a similar size which we believe it will, given the significant shifts in power following the election results and the need to use the size and composition of Cabinet to negotiate terms with opposition parties, that the various parties involved in these negotiations commit to making the performance targets of incoming ministers publicly available, as well as any reviews that are scheduled,” says Jay Kruuse, Director at PSAM.

Those who criticise the size of the Cabinet say it puts extra pressure on the national fiscus as more money is spent on the executive for blue lights and protection services. However, one economist says a trimmed Cabinet will not result in much savings but will be symbolic.

“I don’t know what the new coalition or the new setup is going to look like but quite often what happens is that opposition parties or coalition partners are given Cabinet positions in return for support and this is probably what’s going to happen. Now they will be given Cabinet positions and that means there must be a lot of Cabinet positions to dish out to other political parties,” says Economist Davie Roodt.

The first sitting of the National Assembly to elect a President will be on Friday and at least one political party, Rise Mzansi says it will not field a presidential candidate.

The new President is expected to announce his Cabinet after being inaugurated.