The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) had hoped to see the back of Gwede Mantashe, Bheki Cele, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Blade Nzimande and Ebrahim Patel, who have largely performed poorly. Instead, we get a new minister of electricity to clean up the mess that two other ministers could not fix and reassignment of some problem ministers like Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma into new roles.
President Cyril Ramaphosa missed an opportunity to show South Africa that he meant business with his cabinet reshuffle when it comes to dealing with accountability in poorly performing ministries. Planning, monitoring & evaluation (PME) has been a role played within the presidency and we are surprised that it requires a new position in the presidency, especially when we see deterioration of performance in ministries of police, higher education, mineral resources & energy and public enterprises.
One trusts the new ministry of PME will lead to publicly announced updated performance agreements for all ministers, that these will be transparent to the public and, crucially, that the ministers will be held to them.
While the appointment of Kgosientsho Ramokgopa in the new position of minister of electricity may be a welcome appointment, South Africa doesn’t need a new ministry to address the electricity crisis, but instead requires accountability, clarity of roles and strong, delivery-focused leadership from the ministers of mineral resources & energy and public enterprises. The new minister of electricity role will create more confusion as to who is responsible for what delivery and solutions to our energy crisis. Will this new minister account to parliament or only to the president?
Sindisiwe Chikunga is minister of transport after a largely hidden role as the deputy minister. We hope she will address the many problems left behind by her previous boss, Fikile Mbalula.
It is encouraging that Lindiwe Sisulu was fired from the cabinet and Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma removed from cooperative governance & traditional affairs (Cogta). Dlamini Zuma has failed dismally to arrest the chronic decline in local government performance. Municipalities should provide the basic foundation for local economies to build on, yet we have seen hundreds of municipalities regress and fail to serve their residents. The newly appointed minist,rm Thembi Nkadimeng, was Cogta deputy minister since 2021 and she has a mammoth task ahead of her to turn things around in our collapsing towns and cities.
The reassignment of such a poor performer as Dlamini Zuma to women, youth & persons with disabilities signals the lack of interest which the president has in this portfolio.
We are hopeful about the changes in the ministry of tourism, with Patricia De Lille taking over the leadership. South Africa needs serious intervention in this space to give a once-thriving industry the boost it needs to stimulate economic growth.
This was a shuffle that extended a cabinet which should have been trimmed but left little change in crucial departments with big problems. Adding ministers in the presidency consolidates power without improving public accountability. All eyes will be on these appointees to deliver.
- Wayne Duvenage is CEO of Outa