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Ramaphosa cuts Cabinet’s perks

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Government will no longer be responsible for security upgrades to members of his executive’s private residences

President Cyril Ramaphosa has approved the cutting of some of his ministers and deputy ministers’ perks. Picture: Phando Jikelo / African News Agency (ANA)

PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa has cut some perks for members of his executive including stopping the practice of the government paying for security at ministers and their deputies’ private residences.

Ramaphosa approved the new guidelines for members of the executive on April 13, according to a letter written by Acting Public Service and Administration Minister Thulas Nxesi on May 17.

The guide, formerly known as the ministerial handbook, covers ministers, their deputies, premiers and MECs.

The government said the changes have been necessitated by the need to ensure good governance with due regard to cost effectiveness and efficiency.

In terms of the guidelines, the government will not be liable for the costs of any security upgrades effected or to be effected in the private residence of a member of the national or provincial executive including a private residence designated as an official residence.

The costs of security measures for a private residence designated as an official residence and one other private residence which is not designated as an official residence were carried by the state with due regard to a security analysis.

The guide also cuts the staff compliments in the offices of deputy minister from 11 to ten.

Premiers and MECs have 12 and 11 employees in their offices, respectively, which is down from 13.

Ministers will remain with 15 in their private offices.

The government will also no longer extend privileges to former ministers, deputy ministers and their spouses.

In the past, the travel privileges, which were administered and paid for by Parliament, came into effect on the first day following the date on which they relinquished office but excluded trips made when vacating state-owned residences to the places where they plan to settle.

The state covered the costs of 48 single domestic business class flights per annum for former ministers while former deputy ministers were entitled to 36 domestic flights, also business class a year.

Spouses of former ministers received 24 single domestic business class flights while former deputy ministers’ better halves had 18 every year.

Widows or widowers of former ministers and deputy ministers were allocated 12 single domestic business class flights annually.

Beneficiaries of these perks were also allowed to exchange their air tickets for rail tickets at their own discretion of the former Minister/Deputy Minister, spouse or widow/ widower.

The guide permitted former members of the national executive who later became former MPs and MPLs to retain the travelling privileges they were entitled to as ex-ministers and deputy ministers.

Nxesi urged current ministers, their deputies and support staff to acquaint themselves with the provisions.

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