DA reveals how Ramaphosa’s spent R2 billion on 624 jobs for cadres – more than Zuma ever did

Issued by Dr Leon Schreiber MP – DA Shadow Minister for Public Service and Administration
05 Mar 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached Afrikaans and English soundbites by Dr Leon Schreiber MP.

Over the past six months, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has been meticulously gathering evidence on the cost of the staff components employed by the 27 Ministers and 35 Deputy Ministers in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government who have run our country into the ground. These costs are incurred in terms of the Ministerial Handbook. Since the rules of this Handbook are decided exclusively by the President, all expenditure incurred in terms of the Handbook is his responsibility. Today, the DA can reveal that Ramaphosa has enabled ANC Ministers and Deputy Ministers who have made stage 6 load-shedding a permanent feature of life in this country, to employ 624 personal staff members at a cost to taxpayers of at least R1 935 705 005 since he became President in February 2018.

Even more shocking than the sheer cost of employing all these unproductive cadres at taxpayer expense are the facts that this information has never previously been disclosed and that there is no parliamentary oversight whatsoever over this expenditure. The current version of the Ministerial Handbook, on pages 9 and 10, entitles each Minister to employ 11 staff members, while each Deputy Ministers is entitled to 7 supporting staffers. These staff members include “household aides,” “receptionists,” “community outreach officers,” as well as “private and appointment secretaries” and “assistance appointment and administrative secretaries.”

As we saw last year when the DA exposed how Ramaphosa secretly tried to increase these numbers, the Ministerial Handbook operates in complete secrecy and with no foundation in law. That is why the DA has already laid a compliant with the Public Protector over the fact that a Ministerial Handbook whereby the President can milk taxpayers without any parliamentary oversight is surely unlawful and unconstitutional.

As part of the next step in the DA’s campaign to expose to the people of South Africa how Ramaphosa abuses them through this secretive Handbook, we asked every government department how much is being spent on the personal staff for Ministers and Deputy Ministers. The answers indicated that, in the past year alone, taxpayers spent over R387 million on the salaries of 624 ANC cadres employed to service every need of Ramaphosa’s failed Cabinet.

But even this was not enough for some ANC Ministers. Nearly half of all Cabinet Ministers – at least 12 of them – are currently in flagrant violation of the Ministerial Handbook by exceeding the 11 staff members they are allowed to employ. At least another 17 Deputy Ministers also currently exceed the 7 staff they may employ. The DA is drafting a fresh complaint for the Public Protector against those 17 Deputy Ministers and the following 12 Ministers for milking taxpayers even beyond the generous threshold imposed by the Handbook:

  • Gwede Mantashe: employs 17 staffers at an annual cost of R11.7 million
  • Ronald Lamola: employs 17 staffers at an annual cost of R10.2 million;
  • Mmamoloko Kubayi: employs 15 staffers at an annual cost of R10.3 million;
  • Blade Nzimande: employs 14 staffers at an annual cost of R9 million;
  • Naledi Pandor: employs 14 staffers at an annual cost of R8.8 million;
  • Bheki Cele: employs 14 staffers at an annual cost of R8.4 million;
  • Lindiwe Zulu: employs 14 staffers at an annual cost of R9.1 million;
  • Fikile Mbalula: employs 13 staffers at an annual cost of R10.2 million;
  • Maite Nkoana-Mashabane: employs 13 staffers at an annual cost of R7.7 million;
  • Aaron Motsoaledi: employs 12 staffers at an annual cost of R8.7 million;
  • Joe Phaahla: employs 12 staffers at an annual cost of R7.8 million; and
  • Thulas Nxesi – who as both Minister of Labour and acting Minister of Public Service and Administration should be the custodian of the Handbook – appears to be committing the most flagrant abuse of all by employing two sets of staff. The first in his capacity as Minister of Labour: 16 staff members at an annual cost of R13.1 million. The second in his capacity as acting Minister of Public Service and Administration: 13 staff members at an annual cost of R9.3 million.

The DA revelation that taxpayers have spent nearly R2 billion on 624 staff members in ministerial offices since Ramaphosa became Presdient follows after we earlier this week also exposed that ANC Ministers and Deputy Ministers currently live in 97 state-owned mansions in Pretoria and Cape Town worth nearly R1 billion. Minister of Public Works in the ANC Cabinet, Patricia de Lille, defended this wastage by effectively saying: “The pre-1994 government did it, so we can do it too.”

In terms of the Ministerial Handbook, Ministers and Deputy Ministers are served at these mansions by their 624 staff members, and they also receive VIP protection costing R8 million each per year, free water and electricity up to R5 000 per month, and four luxury vehicles each. De Lille, has also previously admitted to spending R2.6 million to buy generators so that ministerial mansions are not subjected to the load-shedding crisis caused by the occupants.

Ramaphosa’s Cabinet staff costs taxpayers more than Zuma’s ever did

Another worrying element of Ramaphosa’s Handbook is the fact that it has enabled even more spending on personnel than was the case under former President Jacob Zuma’s administration. While Zuma had more Ministers in his Cabinet than Ramaphosa (34 compared to 27), Ramaphosa allows both Ministers and Deputy Minister to have more staff than Zuma did. Ramaphosa also has the same number of Deputy Ministers in his Cabinet as Zuma had (35).

Under the previous version of the Handbook, which was in force during Zuma’s tenure from 7 February 2007 until 20 November 2019, Ministers were allowed to have 10 support staff, while each Deputy Minister was entitled to 6. Under Ramaphosa, those numbers were increased to 11 and 7, respectively.

On balance, this increase means that Ramaphosa’s Cabinet costs taxpayers more than Zuma’s ever did.

Even more concerning is the fact that Ramaphosa last year in April attempted to secretly change the Handbook to vastly increase the staff component – to 15 for Ministers and 10 for Deputy Ministers. At the time that the DA exposed these secret amendments, we calculated that this would increase the cost to taxpayers of the staff serving the ANC Cabinet by another R87 million per year. It was only due to the extreme public pressure generated by the DA’s revelations that Ramaphosa was forced to withdraw his secret amendments at the end of last year.

DA fights back against Ministerial Handbook

In addition to the ongoing Public Protector investigation into the apparent fact that the entire Ministerial Handbook is illegal, as well as the fresh complaint the DA will submit against nearly half of Cabinet for milking taxpayers even beyond the threshold imposed by the Handbook, the DA is also introducing the Cut Cabinet Perks Bill to Parliament. This private member’s bill, which will take the form of an amendment to the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers Act, will bring to an end the impunity with which Ramaphosa abuses taxpayers to pay for the lavish lifestyles of the ANC cadres who are destroying South Africa by making the Handbook subject to full parliamentary transparency and oversight.

The DA’s immediate next step in our ongoing campaign against the obscene abuses perpetrated by Ramaphosa through the Ministerial Handbook will be to unearth and expose never before seen information on the total annual cost of this Handbook to the people of South Africa. We call on every citizen who is tired of ANC corruption and abuse to support our Cut Cabinet Perks Bill in Parliament and our campaign against Ramaphosa’s Ministerial Handbook.


The figures in this statement were obtained through a series of parliamentary questions. The parliamentary replies are linked to the table below and compiles all of the answers received. Since seven Ministers refused to answer our questions, we used averages to calculate their spending. It is therefore likely that the actual expenditure exceeds the figure of R387 million per year.


Ministry Minister staff Minister amount Deputy staff Deputy Salary Amount
Basic Education 11  R7 759 596,00 9  R4 018 167,00
Communications 9  R5 491 384,00 9  R3 485 152,00
Finance 9  R6 312 415,47 7  R4 428 533,28
Health 12  R7 813 878,00 7  R3 952 788,00
Higher Education 14  R9 090 639,00 10  R5 989 338,00
Home Affairs 12  R8 704 299,00 10  R4 495 734,00
Human Settlements 15  R10 287 986,00 11  R5 905 140,00
International Relations 14  R8 857 638,00 20  R11 997 825,00 * 2 Deputy Ministers
Justice 17  R10 210 584,00 10  R6 350 700,00
Police 14  R8 473 435,00 9  R3 345 696,00 *Estimated as only levels given
The Presidency 11  R9 253 959,00 19  R8 356 557,00 * 2 Deputy Ministers
Public Enterprises 10  R5 581 260,00 5  R1 506 042,00
Public Service Admin 13  R9 329 151,00 9  R3 111 209,00
Small Business 9  R8 402 727,00 9  R4 619 428,00
Social Development 14  R9 167 223,00 15  R6 355 929,00
Transport 13  R10 253 877,00 8  R4 504 539,00
Women Youth 13  R7 715 711,00 0  R- *Estimated as only levels given
Water & Sanitation 9  R10 432 140,00 9  R5 806 983,00
Mineral Resources, Energy 17  R11 753 179,00 8  R3 535 117,00
Employment Labour 16  R13 142 850,00 8  R4 254 198,00
Trade Industry 9  R6 075 246,00 17  R10 227 498,00 *2 Deputy Ministers
Agriculture 12 R8 767 103,69 10 R5 059 360,63 *Average – no answer
Defence 12 R8 767 103,69 10 R5 059 360,63 *Average – no answer
COGTA 12 R8 767 103,69 10 R5 059 360,63 *Average – no answer
Environment 12 R8 767 103,69 10 R5 059 360,63 *Average – no answer
Sports, Arts, Culture 12 R8 767 103,69 10 R5 059 360,63 *Average – no answer
Tourism 12 R8 767 103,69 10 R5 059 360,63 *Average – no answer
Public works 12 R8 767 103,69 10 R5 059 360,63 *Average – no answer

Total staff: 624

Total staff cost per year: R387 141 001

Total staff cost over 5 years:1 935 705 005

Additionally, the DA also compared the content of different versions of the Ministerial Handbook, which led to the conclusion that Ramaphosa’s Cabinet is, in fact, costing more than Zuma’s did. Below are extracts from the relevant parts of the different versions of the Ministerial Handbook that has been used over the years.

Zuma’s Handbook: 10 staff for Ministers, 6 for Deputy Ministers (7 February 2007-20 November 2019)

Ramaphosa’s Handbook: 11 staff for Ministers, 6 for Deputy Ministers (20 November 2019-13 April 2022)

Ramaphosa’s secret changes (withdrawn): 15 staff for Ministers, 10 for Deputy Ministers (13 April 2022-17 October 2022)