I congratulate President Ramaphosa on his commitment to a smaller and more capable Executive. I welcome reports that the President has heeded our calls for a smaller, less wasteful Cabinet. We believe it is entirely possible for the Executive to function even more effectively with a Cabinet of around 15 Ministers.
Now is also the time to make the Cabinet more capable by removing those Ministers who have failed the country over the past few years. President Ramaphosa should use the imminent reshuffle of the Zuma Cabinet as an opportunity to effect deep cuts to the profligacy and waste of the bloated Cabinet, and to rid the Cabinet of many of the people who propped up Zuma for so long.
A new era of hopefulness and renewal cannot be achieved with the same people who were at the centre of nearly every Jacob Zuma scandal. The following Zupta Ministers should be relieved of office:
- Malusi Gigaba has, after Zuma himself, done the most damage to the economy. Whether naturalising the Guptas whilst Home Affairs Minister or facilitating the capture of state owned entities as Public Enterprises Minister and putting them in the hands of the Guptas, he is long overdue for being fired. More immediately, to have him present the Main Budget on Wednesday would undermine President Ramphosa’s ‘new broom’ spirit and the credibility of his turnaround plan;
- Mosebenzi Zwane brought the mining industry to its knees with policy designed to maximise looting. Whether as the Mining Minister who oversaw the sale of Optimum Coal Mine to the Guptas, or as the MEC for Agriculture in the Free State who conceived and enabled the Vrede Dairy Farm heist of R200 million of public money;
- Lynne Brown has presided over the near death of Eskom. As someone who protected Gupta appointees on boards, did the Gupta’s will, helped them loot millions from the public purse and lied in her testimony during the Eskom inquiry about having met the Guptas;
- David Mahlobo allowed Zuma’s parallel mafia state to flourish. He is the Minister who did his best to rush through Zuma’s nuclear deal with the Russians, the Minister of State Security who was closely associated with rhino horn trade, oversaw the signal jamming in the 2015 SONA and is close to convicts and gangsters;
- Bathabile Dhlamini is responsible for the ongoing social grants crisis that continues to put millions of recipients and the country at severe risk and another key Zuma lackey and cheerleader;
- Nomvula Mokonyane has cleaned out the Department which is now practically crippled under the weight of corruption, incompetence and maladministration. Minister Mokonyane has deployed corporate warlord, Dudu Myeni, to head up the Umgeni and Mhlathuze waterboards, and showed disdain for the true state of the economy in her flippant comment about “picking up” the Rand;
- Faith Muthambi oversaw the near-destruction of the SABC as Communications Minister. Minister Muthambi allowed Hlaudi Motsoeneng to run the SABC like his personal fiefdom and was found to be incompetent and guilty of misleading Parliament, which is a criminal offence; and
- Des van Rooyen is another Gupta stooge who deliberately misled Parliament about his meetings with the Guptas. Minister van Rooyen was prepared to be the mechanism through which the keys to Treasury could be handed to the Guptas.
President Ramaphosa has an opportunity to demonstrate his true commitment to what he said on Friday night by ridding the Executive of those Ministers whose presence in the government has only ever been a source of scandal and failure.
The promise of ‘renewal’ requires that Malusi Gigaba, Mosebenzi Zwane, Lynne Brown, David Mahlobo, Bathabile Dhlamini, Nomvula Mokonyane, Faith Muthambi and Des van Rooyen be relieved of office as soon as possible.