South Africa: Restructuring the Government - a President, Nine Ministers and a Band of DGs Are All That's Needed


With crucial reforms to state-owned aviation and energy done and dusted, the next urgent must is action to realise that much-promised, but still elusive, efficient developmental state. Restructuring must break entrenched networks of state patronage, inefficiency and delivery failure.

One of President Cyril Ramaphosa's first pledges in office on 16 February 2018 was the reconfiguration of government so "the structure and size of the state is optimally suited to meet the needs of the people and ensure the most efficient allocation of public resources".

Over the past three years, that has been focused on shifting executive power into the Presidency -- think Operation Vulindlela with the National Treasury, the Project Management Office, and the Infrastructure and Investment Office.

This strategic move is bolstered as Ramaphosa chairs various coordinating structures, including the State-Owned Entities Council, the Presidential Coordinating Council with premiers and mayors, and the Infrastructure Coordination Council. Similar structures exist on climate change, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and investment, alongside a series of advisory working committees.

All of this, alongside the increasing role of Operation Vulindlela, underlines two structural reforms and policy changes: the recent sale of 51% in national airliner SAA and the upping to 100MW of the embedded...

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