Reshuffle the cabinet, please, Mr President

National Assembly
National Assembly
Image: Anton Scholtz

National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise and National Council of Provinces chair Amos Masondo issued a joint statement last week commemorating the hundreds of young people killed and injured on 16 June 1976.

The statement said, among other things: “We all owe it to the 1976 young liberators to ensure that we build the SA of our dreams, free from the pandemic and social ills.”

Nice, I thought. Who will build this “SA of our dreams”?

So I went and had a quick look at our national executive, the people who are supposed to implement our vision of a prosperous and free SA that fulfils the dreams of those young people.

We are in trouble.

The youth portfolio falls under Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, the minister who told us she has a hole in her head.

This minister has a big job: a staggering 63% of young people between the ages of 15 and 24 are jobless.

The youth accounts for 59,5% of the total number of unemployed persons in SA.

Anywhere else in the world such statistics would be treated as a state of disaster.

In SA, Nkoana-Mashabane has been in office with little or no accountability and cutting ribbons when days such as June 16 come around.

This minister was terrible at foreign affairs and she continues her traditions in her new portfolio.

Why hasn’t she been fired?

You would have thought that, given the dire state of youth unemployment, the government would devote greater time and focus to small business development among young people.

What has instead happened is that the president has pulled the minister for small business development into his office, leaving a key portfolio leaderless and rudderless.

The cabinet is full of dead wood.

The SA National Defence Force is in perilous decline.

Military veterans complain constantly of neglect.

The minister of defence, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, seems unable or unwilling to solve the many crises that bedevil a military that has become a national laughing stock.

Mapisa-Nqakula was minister of home affairs and correctional services before landing at defence.

She has hardly shone in any of the roles, yet she stays in office.

The ministry of environment, forestry & fisheries has a tough job on its hands and it won’t be helped by the stink that Maggie Sotyu brings to the place.

She was the ANC chair of parliament’s portfolio committee on safety and security who led the destruction of the Scorpions in 2008, declaring: “We are going to dissolve the Scorpions.”

Within three months she had succeeded and was rewarded with various positions in the Zuma administration.

What is she doing in this job?

In early June, veteran actress Shaleen Surtie-Richards was laid to rest in Cape Town.

She died unable to pay for her medical care because, according to her friends and industry insiders, she had not been paid the “meagre” royalties for all the rebroadcasts of her work.

The ministry of arts & culture was not there to fight for her and other artists while she was alive, but sports, arts & culture minister Nathi Mthethwa, Western Cape cultural affairs and sport MEC Anroux Marais and ANC Western Cape secretary Faiez Jacobs were among the VIPs at her funeral.

They are never there while you suffer, but they are the loudest to weep at your funeral.

Fire Mthethwa, please, Mr President.

Zweli Mkhize is still health minister.

He should be on trial, damn it.

Lindiwe Sisulu is minister of human settlements, water $ sanitation.

Our people live in shacks, hospitals have no water and schools have no sanitation.

She is so unsuccessful at her job she wants to be president.

Bheki Cele is called the minister of police, but seems desperate to return to being the commissioner of police.

Meanwhile, crime runs rampant while he plays politics.

It would be nice to see a cleanup of the intelligence services after all the scandals that were unleashed under the Zuma administration.

Don’t expect that to happen under Ayanda Dlodlo and Zizi Kodwa — both are under the microscope for activities during the Zuma era and both are too timid to take on the spooks who have been stealing the country blind for years.

They should both be shown the door if they can’t step up.

Trade and industry is run by Ebrahim Patel.

The country is still waiting to understand how this minister could be so activist in stopping retailers from selling hot prepared food last April and yet so docile in igniting real trade and industry in the country.

Patel did nothing for 10 years as minister of economic development under Zuma.

He is still on holiday.

So it goes.

Lindiwe Zulu is running around like a headless chicken at social development, while Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma says nothing and does nothing while major investors flee collapsing municipalities.

We desperately need a cabinet reshuffle.

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