South Africa President, Cyril Ramaphosa, is set to merge ministries, get rid of deputy ministers, and reduce the number of provinces in the country as measures to cut costs.
According to reports in the City Press and the Sunday Times, these are measures to cut the public wage bill and make the government run more efficiently.
The City Press reported that Ramaphosa is planning to collapse a number of departments and form a powerful economic department.
This economic department is set to be formed by a “merger of the departments of small business, trade and industry, tourism, and economic development”.
Ramaphosa will “dramatically cut the 34-member cabinet after the elections”, which, according to the Sunday Times, should be made up of only 25 ministers and 15 deputy ministers.
“This will reduce the size of the executive he inherited from Jacob Zuma from 72 to 40,” the Sunday Times said.
The ANC’s plan to reduce the number of provinces is also back on the table.
This is following reports in July 2017 that the ruling party was pushing ahead with the reconfiguration of provinces, despite an outcry from opposition parties.
The ANC policy conference called for a presidential commission to be set up and for its work to be completed before the party’s elective conference in December.
The ANC took a decision in 2007 that the number of provinces is reduced to six, instead of nine.
National executive committee (NEC) member Obed Bapela said at the time that the commission would look into the powers, functions, and number of provinces.
“We have to harmonise powers and functions of provinces and local government because, in some areas, there is contestation of space,” Bapela said.