16 February 2018

South Africa: SONA 2018 - Cabinet Reduction Welcomed By Opposition Leaders

The possible reduction of Cabinet was widely hailed by opposition parties, who reacted to President Cyril Ramaphosa's maiden State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Friday.

Opposition leader Mmusi Maimane welcomed the decision, saying that his party, the DA, had long emphasised the need to reduce the number of Cabinet ministers to less than 20.

"It's a great decision to say the ministry must be reduced. We have always maintained that we can run government with less than 20 ministers. How big is the cut? I hope it's a massive cut and we fire some ministers," he said.

Maimane's sentiments were shared by Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) deputy president Floyd Shivambu, who also said that a Cabinet reduction was long overdue.

"We think that it's long overdue that Cabinet must be reduced to a reasonable size so that we are able to deal with key functions," Shivambu said.

Ramaphosa added that it was critical that the structure and size of the state be optimally suited to meet the needs of the people and ensure the most efficient allocation of public resources.

"We will therefore initiate a process to review the configuration, number and size of national government departments," Ramaphosa said.

Maimane listed four ministers which he said Ramaphosa would have to fire immediately. They are Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini, Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba, Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown, and Minerals Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane.

Opposition leaders seemed to be taken with Ramaaphosa, often clapping for him as he delivered his SONA.

But there were those who found flaws, including Maimane who said that the speech "lacked a plan".

"I thought it was important to call South Africans together but I felt the speech lacked a plan. How do we tangibly change people's lives? The idea of total change with immediate effect was not in the speech... The difficulty the president faces is that there is simply no money in the budget to finance half of the things he outlined today," Maimane said.

Shivambu was even more critical and said that Ramaphosa had no idea of what he wanted.

"The president is still in a brainstorming session. He's still having ideas of what he wants to do. He doesn't know yet. That is why he speaks of [a] job summit [and] commission after commission."

Source: News24

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