The appointment of the Deputy President and Ministers to form the nation’s Cabinet was the first real test for President Cyril Ramaphosa’s much talked about “clean up” and tough stance on corruption. Unfortunately, Ramaphosa placed the internal factional interests of the ANC ahead of the interests of the people of South Africa.
At a time of great expectation of renewal and change, Ramaphosa instead chose the survival of the ANC over the future of the country. Ramaphosa chose to appoint comprised individuals such as David Mabuza as Deputy President, Fikile Mbalula as Minister of Transport and Gwede Mantashe as Minister of Mineral Resources.
This cabinet announcement shows the farcical belief that a stronger mandate for Cyril Ramaphosa would lead to a “new dawn”. Rather, his appointments, to the economics cluster, show that he will continue down the same tried and tested path that has led us to having the highest youth unemployment rate in the world. While 10 million South Africans are unemployed, the President’s cabinet choice shows he has no new ideas; nor new personal; to address the country’s job crisis.
South Africa at this point deserves a diverse, competent cabinet that is not a negotiated settlement between factions, but instead a team of committed individuals who are ready to take South Africa forward.
With a slight reduction to the size of the cabinet – at 28 members – Ramaphosa has shown that he, like his predecessors, has used cabinet to reward loyal cadres within the ANC. Cutting a few ministers whilst adding more deputy ministers will not fool the people of South Africa. Presented with a fresh opportunity to create his own cabinet, he chose the ANC’s survival over the people of South Africa.
The President has previously committed to fighting corruption and appointing a leaner and meaner Cabinet with Ministers who are capable, effective and uncompromised. Almost R5 billion each year would be saved if President Ramaphosa cut the Cabinet to 15 Ministers, and resources could prioritise a service-oriented government that focuses its work on delivering services and enabling an environment for job creation
In this light, the President must at once:
• Institute lifestyle audits of his entire Cabinet – as the DA-led Western Cape Government has recently announced
• Slash VIP protection for all cabinet members.
• Ensure each performance management contract for cabinet ministers is brought before Parliament for oversight before the relevant portfolio committee
I will be appointing my Shadow Cabinet in the coming days, compromising of diverse and competent individuals. I will also be holding Shadow Cabinet meetings once every two weeks which will serve to robustly hold the Executive to account.
The President’s Cabinet must get the country working and create a job in every home for millions of South Africans on the outside of the economy.
As I have said on many times before, when the President serves to put the country and citizens first, he will find support across the floor in Parliament.