Sisulu move not a demotion

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march 22 lindiwe sisulu Independent Newspapers ANC NEC member and Public Service Minister Lindiwe Sisulu. Photo: Sizwe Ndingane.

Public Service Minister Lindiwe Sisulu does not consider her new job a demotion from her position as defence minister, she said on Tuesday.

“The only way they (media) could reason it out is 'oh my God there must be some Machiavellian activity there in the run up to Mangaung' because that is uppermost in everybody's minds,” Sisulu told reporters in Pretoria.

“Nothing is further from the truth.”

Sisulu was moved from defence to public service by President Jacob Zuma during a Cabinet reshuffle last week. She took over the portfolio of Roy Padayachie, who died last month.

After Zuma's announcement, it was reported that Sisulu cried on learning she would no longer be defence minister.

An unnamed source claimed Sisulu saw her new portfolio as less prestigious and therefore as an effective demotion.

Sisulu's spokesman Ndivhuwo Mabaya said the report was a “fabrication”.

Sisulu said the biggest stumbling block in the government's delivery was public service.

South Africa was two years away from 20 years of democracy and people were still waiting for basic services.

“People have been waiting patiently for all those things that we promised we are going to give,” she said.

“We no longer have the excuse of 'give us time'. So what do you do? You get that which you think will be able to sort it (out),” said Sisulu.

She said she was humbled and honoured to be chosen as that person.

“It is an enormous challenge, I don't know if I am going to be up to it but I'm extremely honoured that I was chosen.”

Sisulu also denied reports that she was a “union basher”.

This related to her stance on unions within the SA National Defence Force.

“As far as the ruling party (ANC) are concerned, and the policy of the defence force, there is no place for unions in the defence force,” she said.

“There is no place in the defence force for ill-discipline.”

Striking defence force officers went on the rampage at the Union Buildings, in Pretoria, in 2009.

Sisulu said there was nothing more urgent than the defence service, which protected innocent people.

Defence in South Africa was extremely stable and a settled environment. – Sapa


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