Ministerial Handbook: Ramaphosa secretly takes R87 million per year more from taxpayers to fund salaries of ANC cadres

Issued by Dr Leon Schreiber MP – DA Shadow Minister for Public Service and Administration
16 Oct 2022 in News

Please find attached a soundbite by Dr Leon Schreiber MP.

Following earlier revelations by the Democratic Alliance (DA) that President Cyril Ramaphosa secretly amended the Ministerial Handbook in April to provide free electricity and water to ministers who are paid R2.4 million per year, we can today further reveal that Ramaphosa has also removed the limit on the number of staff members that may be employed in the private offices of ANC ministers.

Without taxpayers or Parliament even being informed, Ramaphosa’s secret amendment to the Ministerial Handbook creates substantial additional space for the employment of ANC cadres in ministerial offices – costing taxpayers at least R87 million more per year.

This amendment appears to be an effort by Ramaphosa to implement the devious plan announced earlier this year by ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe to make taxpayers pay the salaries of ANC staffers. Mabe’s proposal was that the ANC, which is too bankrupt to pay the salaries of its own staff members, should find ways to make taxpayers pay their salaries while they actually continue to work for Luthuli House.

In the latest version of the Handout Handbook, Ramaphosa increased the number of staff members that may be employed by ministers in their personal offices from 11 to 15. He created four new positions in each of the 28 ministerial offices: “driver/messenger,” “food aid services,” “portfolio coordinator,” and “registry clerk.”

Ramaphosa similarly increased the number of employees in the offices of deputy ministers, from 7 to 10, by creating three new staff positions for each of his 35 deputy ministers: “driver/messenger,” “food aid services,” and “registry clerk.” Additionally, the President dramatically increased the salary levels of cadres employed as “administrative support staff” in ministerial offices, from R850 000 to R1.15 million per year.

Ramaphosa’s apparent effort to accommodate staff members that the ANC can no longer afford to pay by expanding the private offices of ministers and deputy ministers will cost South Africans, who are already struggling under the heavy burden of skyrocketing food, electricity and fuel prices, an astounding R87 million more every year.

See table here.

In addition to massively inflating the nominal limits on the size of staff components, Ramaphosa created a new loophole whereby ministers can circumvent these limits entirely. In a new clause that Ramaphosa added to the Handbook, he says that “Under exceptional circumstances and where additional tasks or projects are assigned to a Member, the Minister for the Public Service and Administration may, upon request by a relevant executive authority, authorise additional appointments.”

This clause empowers ANC cadre and Public Service Minister Thulas Nxesi to approve the appointment of an unlimited number of other ANC cadres upon request from his fellow ANC cadres in Cabinet.

It is clear that Cyril Ramaphosa has completely betrayed the repeated promises he made when he assumed office to reduce the unbearable burden of wasteful and corrupt spending. Instead, through his secret amendments to the Handout Handook, Ramaphosa has himself become one of the single biggest sources of wasteful and corrupt spending in South Africa.

But perhaps most shocking of all is the fact that South Africans would not even have known that they are being forced to pay the water and electricity bills of ANC ministers, as well as at least R87 million more every year to employ additional ANC cadres in ministerial offices, were it not for the DA’s tireless work to hold the ANC accountable.

After exposing Ramaphosa’s secret changes to the Handbook, the DA last week submitted a complaint to the Public Protector to declare the entire Handbook illegal because it is not based in any law, and because it operates as a secret document hidden away from parliamentary scrutiny or oversight.

The DA started this fight for the people of South Africa. We will not rest until we finish it. That is why we will be announcing urgent additional action steps on Monday to force Ramaphosa to scrap these sick perks and to give Parliament its rightful power to hold the executive to account.