Report card criteria are rigorous, says DA

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IOL jacob zuma glasses on file Independent Newspapers President Jacob Zuma. File photo: Sizwe Ndingane


Cape Town - The DA has defended the legitimacy of its cabinet report card in the face of criticism that such assessments by political parties are subjective.

The party maintained that the annual assessment was based on “rigorous and robust” methodology.

The official opposition gave President Jacob Zuma another “dismal” score – an F – on Wednesday.

A number of members of his cabinet also earned Fs.

DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said Zuma had, once again, led his cabinet as the worst performer last year.

“Throughout his term of office, we have been unable to allocate him a mark higher than an E or an F.”

Mazibuko said Zuma’s score was heavily influenced by the scandals over Nkandla and the landing of the Guptas’ chartered aircraft at the Waterkloof Air Force Base.

The deployment of soldiers to the Central African Republic, where more than 13 of them were killed, also played a role.

Only a “few rays of sunshine” – such as Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and Science and Technology Minister Derek Hanekom – got A scores.

Motsoaledi was found to have “made tremendous headway in tackling critical health problems” facing the country, while Hanekom was thought to be “well informed” and to be addressing the challenges facing his department.

Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson and Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel, who scored Fs, had to be fired “without any further delay”.

National ANC spokesman Keith Khoza said “we can’t respond to the DA’s score cards”.

“First, it can’t be objective. How can an opposition make an objective assessment of government? It can’t. So we are not commenting,” Khoza said.

Political analyst Professor Susan Booysen said the use of scorecards by parties could not be objective, but should be taken seriously.

“I really don’t think it is objective, but some of them have a bit of depth and I think some should take them seriously,” she said.

“They should be taken seriously because they… could make the government more accountable.”

Asked for her assessment of the ministers’ performance, Booysen gave the cabinet a collective C.

DA federal chairman Wilmot James said his party’s grading system was based on “qualitative assessment”.

“That includes things like an assessment on how ministers behave in committees, what their attitude was,” said James.

“And then we’ve assessed in policy terms – issues around direction, for example.”

James said the DA thought the methodology was “rigorous and robust”.

“In the end it becomes a judgement that we make and we would expect people to respect us for making this judgement with an examination they can undertake themselves, as to the methodology we’ve used.”

Mazibuko said that there were two schools of opposition politics in Parliament.

“One is the school of thought that you must measure the ANC against its own policy objectives,” she said.

“In other words, you must get your hands on a manifesto and examine whether the ANC is fulfilling the promises it has made as a political party, regardless of whether you believe those are the right solutions to South Africa’s problems.”

Mazibuko said the DA subscribed to the second school of thought, which was that if the party believed a policy was bad for South Africa or for the economy, “we will pull that into our analysis”.

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