Instead of a cabinet reshuffle, Ramaphosa needs to clean house
There is no one in the ANC’s shallow talent-pool whom Ramaphosa can appoint to revive any government department, writes Martin Williams.
President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Jacques Nelles
Shuffling the Cabinet now will be like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic – after the big ship had already hit an iceberg.
The ANC is sinking. It doesn’t matter who President Cyril Ramaphosa chooses to replace Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, and public enterprises deputy minister Phumulo Masualle.
They have openly betrayed him, thereby inviting dismissal from a Cabinet which “serves” at his pleasure.
He might as well fire them for being ineffective and treacherous.
But their replacements are unlikely to be more effective. Ramaphosa and the ANC have repeatedly proven they are incapable of managing or fixing anything.
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Even the 55th ANC national conference, at which Ramaphosa was re-elected, was so shambolic that it had to be adjourned to reconvene next year.
There is no one in the ANC’s shallow talent-pool whom Ramaphosa can appoint to revive any government department.
Who, for example, will rescue Eskom and spare us from rolling electricity blackouts? Certainly not spineless incumbent Pravin Gordhan, or fellow Minister Gwede Mantashe, who was instrumental in the resignation of Eskom chief executive André de Ruyter.
Who will galvanise the South African Police Service (Saps) and protect us from rampant crime? Certainly not incumbent Bheki Cele, who was tainted as national police commissioner and should not have been appointed as minister.
His bullying during the Covid lockdown should have led to his dismissal but Ramaphosa reportedly relies on his political support.
Obviously, we need a new tourism minister. The portfolio is important for our economy.
The minister, who strives to lead the overhyped radical economic transformation (RET) faction of the ANC, and claims to be a Russian defence force trained general, is clueless about much, including her portfolio.
She demonstrated this after the murder of a German tourist in October, when she told the media South Africa was a safe country and only three tourists had died here since 1994.
In fact, South Africa is not a safe country. As was pointed out to her by a News24 fact check, the World Population Review says South Africa has the planet’s third highest crime rate.
The latest Saps quarterly crime statistics show that between July and the end of September, 7 004 murders were committed – an average of 76 murders daily.
South Africa may be a safe country for those who enjoy VIP protection at taxpayers’ expense.
For everyone else, including foreign tourists, it’s unsafe.
Ministers are shielded from our everyday realities. They are spared from load shedding, and better protected than the public. Last year, the VIP protection budget was increased by R26 million, while the overall Saps budget was slashed by R3.8 billion.
Most of the cuts affect service for ordinary citizens.
South Africa has 28 Cabinet posts (excluding deputies). By comparison, the US, with a population six times as large as SA’s, has 15 Cabinet posts.
We have a bloated, out-of-touch, overpaid, incompetent Cabinet. We need more than a reshuffle. We need to remove the whole Cabinet by voting out the ANC as soon as possible.
We should not have to wait until 2024. That’s why an early election makes sense.