ACTION ONE: Reorganise the Presidency and the Cabinet

  • CDE’s new report, ACTION ONE: Reorganise the Presidency and the Cabinet is the first Agenda 2024: Priorities for SA’s new government report.  It focuses on the centre of government. A competent, honest and accountable government is a prerequisite for South Africa’s return to faster growth that creates opportunities for all South Africans.
  • The state’s capacity has been undermined by systemic corruption, too many compromised party loyalists, inadequate skills at critical levels, and a lack of accountability for poor performance and wrongdoing. At the same time government has taken on more responsibilities, creating new government departments and public entities and adding layers of bureaucracy and parallel management structures.
  • While the first step towards improving state performance entails appointing excellent Ministers and DGs, the structure and processes of Cabinet and the Presidency must also be reformed.
  • Cabinet must become smaller to avoid areas of overlapping jurisdiction and increase the likelihood of forming a coherent team with a shared sense of mission.
  • The poor level of policymaking, discussion and debate in Cabinet must be improved with the addition of a high-level policy unit.
  • The new Cabinet must be ruthless in retaining a focus on key priority areas which will drive further change.
  • The two Cabinet ministers who the constitution allows the president to appoint without being members of parliament, are an important mechanism to increase Cabinet expertise at a time of multiple crises in the country. They should be used to bring in leadership talent in critical positions.

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