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By Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

DA challenges Ramaphosa’s decision to keep ministers’ performance reviews private

The party is appealing a decision by government to deny its application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it will approach the courts to obtain the performance assessments of Cabinet ministers if President Cyril Ramaphosa withholds them from the public.

On Wednesday, Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said that the ministers’ performance assessments would not be disclosed to the public to avoid the information being used against them.

The Minister in the Presidency responsible for planning, monitoring and evaluation, Maropene Ramokgopa, previously indicated that the reviews were conducted between April and July this year.

Performance assessments

Answering questions from reporters in a media briefing on Wednesday, Magwenya confirmed that Ramaphosa had two or three rounds of engagements with his ministers.

“There [are] ongoing performance assessments that’s taking place with respect to how ministers are driving those priority areas, and more importantly, how those are being implemented in departments and addressing capacity shortages where there may be,” he said.

ALSO READ: ‘Purpose not to embarrass individuals’: Ministers’ performance reviews won’t be made public – Presidency

Magwenya indicated that there wasn’t an obligation to make the assessments public, hence the rejection of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application filed by the Democratic Alliance (DA).

What’s the point?

The DA has questioned the point of the ministers’ performance assessments if the results will not be made public.

DA leader John Steenhuisen said it was only right for the results to be publicised since the ministers took their oath publicly.

ALSO READ: Presidency’s silence on ministers’ performance reviews raises eyebrows

“While the performance agreements themselves have been signed and made public on government’s website, it will be a futile exercise if the assessments are not then also made public,” he said.

“The performance of the South African government is information that rightfully belongs in the public domain for the requisite scrutiny as per the constitutional principles of democracy, transparency, and accountability.

“This act of public censorship shows not only a deeply concerning disregard for democracy and transparency, but a contradiction of President Ramaphosa’s initial commitment to reform the state and the public service.

“It is now clear that in backtracking on his promises to reform the public service and hold his cabinet ministers accountable, he is censoring the public from measuring the performance of its government, thus being able to take the requisite electoral action.

“We will go to court if necessary to obtain the performance assessments of South Africa’s national ministers – we will not allow President Ramaphosa to run a government devoid of the transparency and accountability.”

ALSO READ: ‘A lot of things will happen’, says Ramaphosa about ‘underperforming’ ministers

The party is appealing appealing a decision by government to deny its application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA).

Transparency and accountability

The DA is not the only party to call for transparency from Ramaphosa’s government.

On Wednesday, former chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng called on public office bearers in all arms of the state to regularly explain how they have fulfilled the promises inherent in the offices they occupy.

According to Mogoeng, the objective is to address underperformance and prevent the abuse of public power and resources.

READ MORE: ‘He wants to rule from the grave’ – Ntshavheni slams Mogoeng’s ‘no free lunch’ CR17 comments

Additional reporting by Molefe Seeletsa

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