Ministerial Handbook costs nearly R1 billion per year: DA introduces Cut Cabinet Perks Bill

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

Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Dr Leon Schreiber MP.

“The DA’s Cut Cabinet Perks Bill will regulate the Ministerial Handbook; compel the President to immediately review the Handbook and subsequently review it every five years; compel the President to conduct proper costing, consider the economic environment, and obtain recommendations from the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office-Bearers before proposing any benefits, perks and tools of trade for Ministers and Deputy Ministers; compel the President to transparently report proposed changes to benefits to Parliament; and empower Parliament to approve or reject any perks for the President, Deputy President, Ministers and Deputy Ministers.”

The DA has officially tabled our Cut Cabinet Perks Bill in Parliament. The full text of the Bill can be accessed here.

The Bill, which introduces a range of amendments to the Remuneration of Public Office-Bearers Act, is designed to rein in the obscene waste of valuable public resources that currently goes towards funding the Rockstar lifestyles of the 30 ANC Ministers and 34 Deputy Ministers. According to the data collected through a series of DA parliamentary questions, South African taxpayers are forced to pay close to R1 billion every year to fund perks such as VIP security, support staff, luxury vehicles, as well as free water and electricity for Cabinet cadres. This is in addition to the respective R2.4 million and R2 million annual salaries Ministers and Deputy Ministers are paid.

Over the past six months, the DA has collected information on how much different perks contained in the Ministerial Handbook cost South African taxpayers. Our research has revealed the following main expenses:

Since 2019 Average per year
VIP protection R2 048 000 000 R512 000 000
Salaries for support staff R1 548 000 000 R387 000 000
International travel R81 108 884 R20 277 221
Vehicles R25 287 064 R6 231 766
Alternative electricity, water and security R58 000 000 R14 500 000
Total   R940 008 987

These perks are in addition to the 97 luxury mansions occupied by Ministers and Deputy Ministers in Pretoria and Cape Town, which are collectively worth another R1 billion. It also does not include money spent on salaries for Ministers (R2.4 million per year) and Deputy Ministers (R2 million per year), which adds another R144 million to the total annual cost. This means that, in total, the South African Cabinet costs taxpayers nearly R1 billion per year.

And what is the return on this investment for the people of South Africa? Stage 6 load shedding, rampant crime, growing poverty and collapsing services. Wasting these resources on an ANC Cabinet filled with incompetents and people implicated in state capture while there are so many needs in our society, is simply not sustainable or justifiable.

In addition to addressing the sheer wastage of the Ministerial Handbook, the Cut Cabinet Perks Bill will also end the secrecy surrounding the Handbook. Last year, the DA exposed that President Cyril Ramaphosa had secretly amended the Handbook to provide even more staff to Ministers and Deputy Ministers, and to remove the cap on free water and electricity.

It was only due to the DA’s diligence that this was discovered, where after a public outcry forced Ramaphosa to rescind the changes. The DA’s Bill would end this secrecy by compelling the President to report any proposed changes to Parliament, and to inform the National Assembly of the costs associated with all perks.

To make matters worse, the DA has determined that there appears to be no law on the books that regulates the perks dished out by the President through the Ministerial Handbook. We are currently taking legal advice on this matter. But the Cut Cabinet Perks Bill would also address this apparent illegality by making the Handbook subject to full parliamentary oversight and approval.

To this end, the Bill will end the President’s dictatorial powers over the Handbook. The President’s current unfettered powers to unilaterally introduce more benefits for himself and his Cabinet comrades constitutes an obvious conflict of interest.

The Bill will rectify this by compelling Ramaphosa to first obtain recommendations from the Independent Remuneration Commission, provide proper costing, and consider the broader economic environment before introducing any new perks.

It will also empower Parliament to play its rightful role by voting on what perks may be appropriate for the President, Deputy President, Ministers and Deputy Ministers.

Finally, the Bill will compel the President and Parliament to review the entire Ministerial Handbook within 12 months, and also subject the Handbook to regular reviews every five years thereafter.

The DA calls on all interested individuals and organisations to comment on the Cut Cabinet Perks Bill by sending an email to and