Government may rejig departments

THE ANC is considering reorganising the country’s government departments.

REVISITING: ANC chairwoman Baleka Mbete says the ruling party is considering reorganising the country’s government departments

Addressing a media briefing this week, party chairwoman Baleka Mbete said: “We are looking at revisiting some government departments‚ but that is a discussion we have not finalised yet.”

She hinted that some departments could be done away with.

Mbete said the ANC had introduced several new departments since the present administration had come to power in 2009.

These included the departments of rural development and land affairs and that of economic development.

“Rural Development is not a department to collapse as it deals with one of the five priority areas of the ANC’s policy‚” she said.

Mbete said the discussion was not based on a particular number of departments‚ but she did not expect to see an increase in the number.

This did not mean‚ however‚ a department focused on small and medium-sized businesses would not be created.

“Government departments are about addressing specific challenges in society‚” she said.

“Our comrades in the Department of Trade and Industry say they are unable to pay enough attention to small businesses on the ground and it [that sector] needs to have a specific focus.”

She said the ANC’s election manifesto‚ particularly the section regarding the second phase of the transition‚ emphasised that local companies should be considered for government procurement‚ with 70% of the state’s purchases of goods and services coming from South African suppliers rather than from abroad.

“We have to create cooperatives where they don’t exist and strengthen their work where they do‚” she said.

The South African government has 34 cabinet ministers‚ who head up 46 departments.

Some‚ such as the ministers of defence and military veterans‚ and environment and water affairs‚ head up two departments.

The Presidency‚ which is considered a distinct department‚ has within its structure two ministers – one for national planning and the other for performance monitoring and evaluation.

Several government institutions‚ such as the National Planning Commission‚ Statistics South Africa and the National School of Government are technically not departments‚ but are given similar status to government departments because of their importance in the running of the state.

On Wednesday Deputy Minister of Economic Development Hlengiwe Mkhize said the department was still relevant and was looking at entering a “successful” new phase after next month’s elections. — BDlive



  1. Pre Apartheid government departments built universities, schools, rail systems, roads, highways, harbours, towns, cities, power stations, hospitals, sewage systems, airports, and an entire army and post Apartheid systems can brag about soccer stadiums, potholes, car guards and an R8-bn grave yard of submarines after one conveniently crashed into a seabed. The only department that operates well in this country is SARS.

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