NEWS & ANALYSIS

Abolish Deputy Minister positions – EFF

Fighters say thorough and urgent expenditure review needed to achieve savings

EFF statement on government expenditure savings due to Covid-19

28 June 2020

The EFF notes the significant impact COVID-19 has had on government expenditure, in particular on tax collection. The situations require a thorough and urgent expenditure review to implement expenditures savings immediately. Some measures can be implemented and result in considerable savings with immediate effect. As the EFF, we, therefore, propose the following organizational changes and cost-effective measures, which will lead to savings:

REDUCTION OF CABINET AND ABOLISHMENT OF DEPUTY MINISTER POSITIONS

Efforts to reduce the size of Cabinet after the post-2019 elections were done with the commitment to review further and reduce the size of Cabinet will ensure most allocation of public resources. However, during COVID-19, it has now become evident that there is room to reduce the size of Cabinet further to ensure that resources can be redirected to social services and frontline staff that are fighting the pandemic. The following ministries should be
combined to reduce the number of Ministers from 28 to 20:

1. Environmental Affairs, Fisheries and Forestry should be combined with Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development

2. Labour and Small Business Development should be combined with Trade and Industry

3. Health should be combined with Social Development

4. Home Affairs should be combined with International Relations and Cooperation

5. Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with disabilities should be abolished, and all its mandate should be the responsibility of the President.

6. Public Enterprises should be abolished; all entities should either be moved to line departments and a State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission to oversee state-owned companies consistently.

Tourism should be combined with Sports, Arts and Culture.

All deputy minister positions must be abolished as the cost does not justify positions. Many of the deputy ministers, as it was the case during the lockdown, were not active in any practical and meaningful way. The number of staff in the office of the Minister should be educed to 5. A ministerial, parliamentary liaison should be appointed as departmental support staff, and the community outreach officer position should be abolished, and the department should provide the necessary support to the Minister for effective and consistent community outreach.

APPOINTMENT OF SENIOR MANAGERS AND USE OF CONSULTANTS

All positions of senior managers, Deputy Director-General, Chief Director, Director and Deputy Director or equivalent in provincial departments, municipalities and SOEs that have been vacant for six or more months should be frozen indefinitely. Front line services, nurses, doctors, social workers, emergency medical services, firefighters, investigators, prosecutors, and vacant police positions should be filled. Use of consultants should be prohibited to use consultants, and any use of consultants must be approved by Cabinet. USE OF OUTSIDE CONFERENCE AND MEETING VENUES

Use of conference and meeting venues outside government should be strictly prohibited, and government through SITA should develop a conference and meeting venue system that will allow sharing of conference and meeting venues across all state-buildings.

USE OF VIRTUAL PLATFORM TO HOLD MEETINGS

Use of virtual platforms to hold meetings should be mandatory to minimize travel and catering costs for meetings, and as part of social distancing. Government and state-owned entities should attend Parliament committee meetings through a virtual platform. All interviews should be conducted through a virtual platform.

We believe that if these measures are implemented within the shortest possible time, the government will realize expenditure savings, and the money can be redirected to frontline service delivery.

Issued by Vuyani Pambo, National Spokesperson, EFF, 28 June 2020