In a stunning development that underscores the continued disdain for accountability and transparency by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration, his Minister in the Presidency responsible for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Maropene Ramokgopa, has declined the DA’s PAIA application for outcomes of the performance reviews that were conducted on Ministers between April and July 2023.
Ramokgopa erroneously made reference to Chapter 1, Section 12(c) of the PAIA Act of 2000 as justification for her decision. It is our considered view that the Ramokgopa misdirected herself, as the performance review assessments were the outcome of performance agreements that Ramaphosa entered into in public with his Cabinet, in their capacity as members of the Executive.
The performance review assessments can never be classified material as, firstly, members of the Cabinet are accountable to Parliament for the performance of their functions, as per section 92(2) of the Constitution and, secondly, information on how Cabinet Ministers are performing in their portfolios is in the public interest.
The DA will therefore be submitting an appeal to contest Ramokgopa’s decision in terms of Section 74 of the PAIA Act. Ramokgopa cannot hide behind a tenuous and erroneous understanding of the law to deny South Africans the right to know how Ramaphosa’s Cabinet Ministers have performed over the past 5 years, and a year before the watershed national elections.
While responding to a DA parliamentary question on ministerial performance assessments, Ramokgopa revealed that ‘Performance management was conducted with Ministers between April and July 2023.’ Since signing performance agreements with Ministers in 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa has not lived up to the commitment he made to enhance accountability through a structured performance management system at the executive level because of the failure to either conduct or publish periodic performance reviews.
Then again, with the country lurching from one crisis to the other, it is hardly surprising why Ramaphosa and Ramokgopa will want to hide how Ministers have performed since their appointment almost 5 years ago. The country’s economy is at a standstill with an unrelenting loadshedding and port crisis, a crippling cost-of-living nightmare, a collapsing public healthcare system and record level unemployment. It is clear that Ramaphosa has nothing good to say about his poverty Cabinet except to shield their disastrous tenures from public scrutiny. The only recourse available to South Africans is to vote out Ramaphosa and his entire poverty cabinet in 2024.
The DA strongly believes that it is in the public interest that progress reports on the performance of Ministers are accessible to South Africans. Ramokgopa should therefore lift the veil of secrecy around the reviews conducted between April and July 2023 and make them available publicly as a matter of urgency.
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