Cape Town - The IFP told President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday to stop taking on responsibilities of his ministers, but fire those that were underperforming to avoid a “nanny” cabinet.
Speaking during the second day of the debate on the State of the Nation Address (Sona), IFP MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa said Ramaphosa was overstretching himself while ministers were sitting at home doing nothing.
“As reshuffle comes, deal with your ministers. Stop taking on the responsibilities that ordinarily should be with ministers,” Hlengwa said.
Last Thursday, Ramaphosa announced that he would appoint a Minister of Electricity, who will be in the presidency, to assume full responsibility for overseeing all aspects of the electricity crisis response.
Hlengwa said Ramaphosa was duplicating political bureaucracy in the already bloated and excessive cabinet.
“What is clear, Mr President, is that every time your ministers don’t perform, instead of firing them, you protect them by taking things into the Presidency.
“Be decisive, Mr President, fire them. Don’t have a nanny cabinet. You are not a nanny.
“If they are not working, fire them. You have a mega-bloated cabinet,” Hlengwa said.
He listed some of the key functions moved into the Presidency that ranged from infrastructure, state security, just energy investment programme, climate commission and the red-tape reduction council that ordinarily resided in various departments.
“Mr President, quite frankly, it seems to us you don’t have confidence in your ministers,” he added.
ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe said they did not agree with the addition of yet another minister to an already bloated cabinet to deal with the Eskom challenge.
“We are convinced that Eskom does not need another politician with a title of a Minister of Electricity, but it needs a professional, skilled engineer,” Meshoe said.
He also said the people were tired of the rolling blackouts that made their lives difficult.
DA MP Andrew Whitfield said at every Sona, Ramaphosa’s broken promises on fighting crime echoed across the country and into the homes and broken hearts of South Africans living in fear.
He said Ramaphosa had promised to halve violent crime within 10 years but murder had increased by nearly 20%. In last year’s Sona debate, he acknowledged the call for the more effective use of technology, but SAPS phone lines were not working, there were no drones in the sky nor body cameras on police officers.
“We don’t need more hollow words and broken promises from an empty suit. We need results,” Whitfield said.
DA MP Dennis Ruyder was scathing in his response when he took to the podium to debate.
“How dare you stand up here and coldly quote statistics of failed municipalities as if you were a victim of this failure of government.
“You, sir, spent four years as the deputy president, the Leader of Government Business and today marks the fifth anniversary of your tenure as president. That’s nine years that you have had to fix the state of local government,” Ruyder said.
Ramaphosa said in his Sona, 163 out of 257 municipalities were dysfunctional or in distress and that the government was implementing a number of interventions to address failures in local government.
Ruyder said it was Ramaphosa who appointed Minister Nkosasana Dlamini Zuma, whom he said failed municipalities dismally.
In response, Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said Ruyder was being disrespectful in the manner he addressed Ramaphosa.
“I wonder if it was their time and it was their president, he would have said ‘how dare you’. He said so because he is disrespectful.
“He says because he told himself that the president of the ANC and the country would be told by him what should be done with Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
“We are not to be told by you Mr Ruyder. Get it right, today and for tomorrow,” Zulu said.
National Council of Provinces chief whip Seiso Mohai said the ANC came to the debate with a clear conscience to provide detail and account of the road traversed since the last Sona, and point to a new trajectory that put the people’s interest above anything else.
“We reject with contempt the provocation by those who come here for electioneering posturing,” Mohai said.