South Africans have been expressing outrage at the President’s announcement last night during the State of the Nation Address (SONA), that he will be appointing a Minister of Electricity.

The loadshedding crises has caused enormous damage to the country, despite promises to fix the problems and despite there being many people in high positions involved in supposedly finding lasting solutions.

Adding another new minister to the cabinet would first and foremost mean another enormous cost for South Africans. According to the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) calculations, this new position would add at least R37 million per year to the bill that taxpayers already pay the ANC to govern.

Dr Leon Schreiber MP, DA Shadow Minister for Public Service and Administration, made the following statement

During last night’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that he would be adding yet another ministerial portfolio to his already bloated and inefficient Cabinet. He calls the new position the Minister of Electricity – but a more accurate title would be Minister of ANC Loadshedding.

To add insult to injury, Ramaphosa has clearly chosen to abuse the loadshedding crisis to create more cushy jobs for useless cadres. Following the announcement, the DA has used the Ministerial Handbook to calculate the minimum cost to taxpayer that this new ministry will entail, working on the assumption that Ramaphosa will also appoint a Deputy Minister of ANC Loadshedding as this is his preferred method of spreading around patronage.

In addition to the fact that this ministry will only create a new layer of bureaucracy and ignite further turf wars between the Minister of ANC Loadshedding, the Minister of Energy and the Minister of Public Enterprises, it will also add at least R37 million per year to the bill that taxpayers already foot for ANC Ministers and their cadres.

Cost of Minister and Deputy Minister of ANC Loadshedding

VIP protection  R16 million 
Minister’s office  R8.6 million 
Deputy Minister’s office  R4.8 million 
Salaries  R4.4 million 
Luxury vehicles  R3.2 million 
Free electricity and water  R240 000 
Total  R37.24 million 

The first component of this cost is VIP protection at a cost of R8 million per year. Then comes the salary of the Minister, which is R2.4 million per year, and the Deputy Minister’s salary at a cool R2 million. And don’t forget the four luxury vehicles (two for the Minister and two for the Deputy) that will be purchased using taxpayer money, at a combined cost of R3.2 million. (Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana has quietly increased the cap on vehicle costs to R800 000 each).

These new Cabinet cadres will, of course, also get free water and electricity at each of their two official residences (one in Pretoria and one in Cape Town) up to a maximum cost of R60 000 per year, per house – for a total of R240 000.

Then comes the jobs for cadres in the private offices of the Minister and Deputy Minister. The Handbook currently entitles every Minister to employ 11 people in their private office, while the Deputy Minister gets 7. The two tables below indicate that the staff employed in the office of the new Minister will cost over R8.5 million per year, while the Deputy Minister’s office will cost over R4.5 million per year.

Minister’s Office 

Position Salary level Average salary 
Chief of Staff  14 R1 378 620  
Private and Appointment Secretary  13 R1 147 609 
Media Liaison Officer  13 R1 147 609 
Parliamentary Officer  13  R1 147 609 
Community Outreach Officer  11 R851 022  
Administrative Support and Coordination  11 R851 022 
Parliamentary and Cabinet Support  11 R851 022 
Assistant Appointment and Administrative Secretary  9 R567 956 
Receptionist   5 R283 227 
Household Aide 1  3 R206 957  
Household Aide 2  3 R206 957 
Total  R8 639 610 

Deputy Minister’s Office 

Position Salary level Average salary 
Head of Office  13 R1 147 609 
Private and Appointment Secretary  12 R1 222 246 
Parliamentary and Cabinet Support  11 R851 022 
Community Outreach Officer  11 R851 022  
Receptionist   5 R283 227 
Household Aide 1  3 R206 957  
Household Aide 2  3 R206 957 
Total  R4 769 040 

This brings the total to R37 million per year. However, this does not even include the cost of the four official residences these cadres will occupy, the domestic and international trips they will take, as well as the cost of renting more luxury offices and setting up the Department of ANC Loadshedding that will report to the Minister.

The DA rejects Ramaphosa’s abuse of the ANC-made electricity crisis as an opportunity to spread more patronage to his fellow cadres. We have already reported the Ministerial Handbook to the Public Protector over the apparent fact that there is no law on the books that provides for its existence.

That Ramaphosa can stand up and make a speech that instantly costs taxpayers tens of millions of Rands without any parliamentary oversight or cost calculation whatsoever, confirms that the Handbook is nothing more than an illegal tool to further ANC corruption.

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