President Jacob Zuma delivers his state of the nation address in Parliament on Thursday.  Picture: GCIS
President Jacob Zuma delivers his state of the nation address in Parliament on Thursday. Picture: GCIS

THE announcement by President Jacob Zuma to have one capital is a red herring‚ the Congress of the People (COPE) believes.

If it happens‚ he will no longer be president‚ the party said on Saturday.

"His attempt to assuage the anger of taxpayers‚ who will be incensed with tax increases in 11 days’ time‚ will not work‚" said COPE spokesman Dennis Bloem.

Instead of contemplating having one capital‚ Mr Zuma could rather have announced that the cabinet would immediately be slashed to 20 ministers and 10 deputy ministers‚ Mr Bloem said.

"Such a move would remove the need for houses‚ cars‚ offices‚ staff‚ and so on for 15 ministers and 28 deputy ministers who will no longer be needed.

"In effect the savings would be greater than consolidating the two capitals. The beauty is that this could be done at once‚" said Mr Bloem.

He noted that the national debt had soared to over a trillion rand. As a result‚ between R130bn to R140bn would have to be taken from the revenue government had collected to service the national debt.

"This considerably reduces fiscal space. On top of that‚ having an obese government too big to keep awake and too big to keep mobile erodes fiscal space even more. The excessively extravagant Zuma administration must not look to taxpayers to meekly dig deeper to bail out his government.

"President Zuma can no longer have his cake and eat it. Even if the ANC (African National Congress) comes first for him‚ he can no longer pamper his supporters at the expense of the public. Forty-three ministers and deputy ministers must go at once. Other tiers of government must also downsize‚" said Mr Bloem.

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