It was quite telling that before announcing the reshuffle, President Ramaphosa remarked that “just over one year remains in the term of this 6th administration” and that the changes “are not about overhauling the National Executive. Yet, he then proceeded to announce more than 20 cosmetic changes to his Cabinet.
It is apparent that internal ANC political considerations were more important in his outlook than the needs of the people of South Africa.
As the IFP, we are not surprised, and see this as a series of missed opportunities.
With the President having to manage competing factions within his party, it was to be expected that more comrades would be rewarded Cabinet postings. What we have witnessed tonight is just a continuation of his super-bloated, mega Cabinet and the ongoing centralisation of power. Now the Presidency includes the President, the Deputy President, no less than four Ministers and multiple Deputy Ministers.
Despite the many changes made by the President, key areas of daily societal concern, such as crime, poverty unemployment and inequality – which are dealt with largely in the economic and security clusters – were left untouched, and these underperforming Ministers remain firmly in their jobs.
Not only does the President appear to be unmoved by the prevailing challenges faced by the people of South Africa, he backtracked yet again in relation to streamlining his Cabinet, with the addition of new Ministers and Deputy Ministers.
New ministries equate to more money coming out of the public coffers to fund these new offices.
As we have stated before – most recently during the SONA debate – the IFP is of the view that it was totally unnecessary to appoint a Minister of Electricity. There are already quite a number of Departments and Ministries involved in the work of the energy sector, as well as NECOM and local government. This appointment is blatant political posturing, and merely further bloats the existing political bureaucracy.
Rather, the President should have reshuffled Minister Gordhan and Minister Mantashe, as their ongoing power play has long been a stumbling block in resolving the energy crisis. Now the new Minister of Electricity will be forced to navigate these dangerous waters. It is clear that Minister Mantashe and Minister Gordhan are digging in their heels, and as they are political heavyweights within the President’s circle, the people of South Africa will now be left to bear the brutal brunt of their turf wars.
The President is in a difficult position in his own party and in attempting this political balancing act, President Ramaphosa has made it clear that he has yet again put the ANC first, with the people of South Africa a distant second.
Mkhuleko Hlengwa MP
IFP National Spokesperson
071 111 0539