'I'm not fazed': Defence minister Angie Motshekga on criticism of her appointment

Newly sworn-in minister of defence and military veterans Angie Motshekga is committed to proving herself in her new role. File photo.
Newly sworn-in minister of defence and military veterans Angie Motshekga is committed to proving herself in her new role. File photo.
Image: Frennie Shivambu

Defence and military veterans minister Angie Motshekga says she is unfazed by criticism of her new role after 15 years as basic education boss. 

Motshekga's appointment to a new portfolio by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday has been criticised in some quarters.

During the cabinet swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday, Motshekga told SABC News she was unmoved by the criticism, saying she had faced similar challenges when she was appointed minister of basic education but had proved herself with time.

“I've heard all the criticism, and I must tell you, even when I was appointed as the minister of basic education back then, a lot of things happened. It's part of the terrain, and one proves themselves with time. So, you really don't respond to things that you don't know where they come from, so I'm not fazed,” she said.

While acknowledging her unfamiliarity with the defence portfolio, Motshekga said she was committed to addressing the department's issues.

“It would be really dishonest of me to say I know what I'm going to do tomorrow, but it's to attend to the immediate ones. My plan is to go to the office, get handover reports, have a briefing with the generals and agree with my colleagues on how we are going to proceed.

“There are immediate burning [issues] we need to attend to. We are going to be receiving money from the Treasury to address some of the key problems,” she said.

She said she needed more time to come up with a constructive plan for her department.

“Give us a month, we'll give a real plan informed by what we've got, what we have discussed, and what is immediate now and in the next weeks.”

Motshekga faced many challenges during her tenure as minister of education, including the DA calling for her to be fired. DA MP Baxolile Nodada said late last year: “Motshekga and her department are continuing to fail in providing quality education to South African youth, condemning them to a lifetime of poverty, unemployment and hunger.

“Learners are forced to attend schools where classrooms are overcrowded — 471 schools still do not have proper sanitation facilities, 5,201 schools still have pit toilets. Learners are forced to attend schools in facilities built with mud and asbestos.

“Some buildings are so unsafe that learners are taught under trees — 69.9% of schools do not have libraries, 80.7% have no laboratories, 58.16% are without computer facilities and 35% have no access to sports facilities.”

Courtesy of SABC News.



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