Over the past six months, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has been meticulously gathering evidence on the cost of the staff components employed by the 27 Ministers and 35 Deputy Ministers in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government who have run our country into the ground. These costs are incurred in terms of the Ministerial Handbook. Since the rules of this Handbook are decided exclusively by the President, all expenditure incurred in terms of the Handbook is his responsibility. Today, the DA can reveal that Ramaphosa has enabled ANC Ministers and Deputy Ministers who have made stage 6 load-shedding a permanent feature of life in this country, to employ 624 personal staff members at a cost to taxpayers of at least R1 935 705 005 since he became President in February 2018.

Even more shocking than the sheer cost of employing all these unproductive cadres at taxpayer expense are the facts that this information has never previously been disclosed and that there is no parliamentary oversight whatsoever over this expenditure. The current version of the Ministerial Handbook, on pages 9 and 10, entitles each Minister to employ 11 staff members, while each Deputy Ministers is entitled to 7 supporting staffers. These staff members include “household aides,” “receptionists,” “community outreach officers,” as well as “private and appointment secretaries” and “assistance appointment and administrative secretaries.”

As we saw last year when the DA exposed how Ramaphosa secretly tried to increase these numbers, the Ministerial Handbook operates in complete secrecy and with no foundation in law. That is why the DA has already laid a compliant with the Public Protector over the fact that a Ministerial Handbook whereby the President can milk taxpayers without any parliamentary oversight is surely unlawful and unconstitutional.

As part of the next step in the DA’s campaign to expose to the people of South Africa how Ramaphosa abuses them through this secretive Handbook, we asked every government department how much is being spent on the personal staff for Ministers and Deputy Ministers. The answers indicated that, in the past year alone, taxpayers spent over R387 million on the salaries of 624 ANC cadres employed to service every need of Ramaphosa’s failed Cabinet.

But even this was not enough for some ANC Ministers. Nearly half of all Cabinet Ministers – at least 12 of them – are currently in flagrant violation of the Ministerial Handbook by exceeding the 11 staff members they are allowed to employ. At least another 17 Deputy Ministers also currently exceed the 7 staff they may employ. The DA is drafting a fresh complaint for the Public Protector against those 17 Deputy Ministers and the following 12 Ministers for milking taxpayers even beyond the generous threshold imposed by the Handbook:

  • Gwede Mantashe: employs 17 staffers at an annual cost of R11.7 million
  • Ronald Lamola: employs 17 staffers at an annual cost of R10.2 million;
  • Mmamoloko Kubayi: employs 15 staffers at an annual cost of R10.3 million;
  • Blade Nzimande: employs 14 staffers at an annual cost of R9 million;
  • Naledi Pandor: employs 14 staffers at an annual cost of R8.8 million;
  • Bheki Cele: employs 14 staffers at an annual cost of R8.4 million;
  • Lindiwe Zulu: employs 14 staffers at an annual cost of R9.1 million;
  • Fikile Mbalula: employs 13 staffers at an annual cost of R10.2 million;
  • Maite Nkoana-Mashabane: employs 13 staffers at an annual cost of R7.7 million;
  • Aaron Motsoaledi: employs 12 staffers at an annual cost of R8.7 million;
  • Joe Phaahla: employs 12 staffers at an annual cost of R7.8 million; and
  • Thulas Nxesi – who as both Minister of Labour and acting Minister of Public Service and Administration should be the custodian of the Handbook – appears to be committing the most flagrant abuse of all by employing two sets of staff. The first in his capacity as Minister of Labour: 16 staff members at an annual cost of R13.1 million. The second in his capacity as acting Minister of Public Service and Administration: 13 staff members at an annual cost of R9.3 million.

The DA revelation that taxpayers have spent nearly R2 billion on 624 staff members in ministerial offices since Ramaphosa became Presdient follows after we earlier this week also exposed that ANC Ministers and Deputy Ministers currently live in 97 state-owned mansions in Pretoria and Cape Town worth nearly R1 billion. Minister of Public Works in the ANC Cabinet, Patricia de Lille, defended this wastage by effectively saying: “The pre-1994 government did it, so we can do it too.”

In terms of the Ministerial Handbook, Ministers and Deputy Ministers are served at these mansions by their 624 staff members, and they also receive VIP protection costing R8 million each per year, free water and electricity up to R5 000 per month, and four luxury vehicles each. De Lille, has also previously admitted to spending R2.6 million to buy generators so that ministerial mansions are not subjected to the load-shedding crisis caused by the occupants.

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