President Cyril Ramaphosa and members of his current cabinet are sworn into Parliament. Picture: GCIS
President Cyril Ramaphosa and members of his current cabinet are sworn into Parliament. Picture: GCIS

We’re keeping score! Our performance report of President Ramaphosa and his Cabinet

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Jan 7, 2021

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PURPOSE

It's been 26 years since the advent of democracy and the majority of South Africans continue to live in poverty. Independent Media has compiled a performance report to help South Africans hold those they voted into power accountable for the promises they made to change their lives for the better.

Below we provide a fair and objective evaluation of ministerial and presidential performance for the 2019 financial year to date, using the Medium-Term Strategic Framework, seven priorities of the Sixth Administration, Budget Speech, State of the Nation Address and the recently signed Performance Agreements between President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Cabinet ministers.

Some of the main targets in the performance contracts include:

  • Reducing unemployment to 20 – 24% with 2 million new jobs created, especially for youth.
  • Driving a transformed, representative and inclusive economy which prioritises women, youth and people living with disabilities.
  • Pushing for investment opportunities to reach 23% of GDP by 2024, with the public sector contributing 8% of GDP and the private sector contributing 15%.
  • Getting the National Health Insurance to achieve universal coverage to 90% of South Africans by 2030.
  • Assisting more students to achieve a National Senior Certificate pass in subjects by 2024.
  • Eliminating fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

The scorecard will not ignore the constraints presented by the Covid-19 pandemic on each ministry. But this will not exonerate any minister, as their performance and mandate predate the pandemic and irrespective of Covid-19 citizens still expect ministries to deliver on their core functions.

All ministries implicated in the scramble and embezzlement of billions set aside for personal protective equipment funds will be scored accordingly, abuse of unregulated procurement during the lockdown was/is not the manifestation of unforeseen events as a result of the pandemic but consistent with the abuse of procurement governance, lack of oversight, political interference and mismanagement.

OUR PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT RATING SCALE

For the purpose of our comprehensive, impartial and fair evaluation of the ministers’ performance, we will be using a rating scale of 1 to 5 for the current performance cycle and the rating scale is defined as follows:

  • 5 = Significantly exceeds performance standards.
  • 4 = Exceeds expectations or performed exceptionally.
  • 3 = Met expectations or performed as expected.
  • 2 = Barely achieved performance standards.
  • 1 = Did not meet expectations or performed poorly.

BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT

The beginning of the current political terms also known as the Sixth Administration of Democratic South Africa came to effect after the 2019 national elections held on May 8. This performance evaluation aims to capture some of the highlights of the Cabinet during the 2019/20 financial year leading to the period under review, which falls within 2020/21, based on the targets contained in the Medium-Term Strategic Framework.

The financial year of the national and provincial government begins on the April 1 each year and ends on March 31 of the following year. The following timelines will provide a synopsis of the key activities undertaken during the period.

Developments from Quarter 1, 2019/20 till late:

  • National Elections took place on May 8, 2019.
  • Parliament elected the president of the RSA on May 22, 2019.
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa announced his Cabinet ministers on May 29, 2019.
  • Legislative processes that establish the executive, legislative and judiciary arms of the government were undertaken.
  • Reconfiguration of national department from 36 during the 2014/15 – 2018/19 political term to only 28 departments in 2019/20 – 2023/24.
  • Roll-out of the presidential 100 days in office, essentially a short-term plan to address some of the urgent issues emanating from the first State of the Nation Address.
  • Escalating levels of unemployment especially among the youth.
  • Launching a number of initiatives and consultative platforms to support the presidency and government on areas of economic advisory, infrastructure development, etc.
  • Parallel to the activities of government, there was breaking news internationally relating to the spreading of the coronavirus (Covid-19) discovered in China during late 2019.
  • By mid-March 2020, the presidency announced the first cases in South Africa of Covid-19 which was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization and this led to calls for the immediate closure of schools, followed by the national lockdown on March 26, 2020 in line with the National State of Disaster.
  • Covid-19 necessitated an immediate budget adjustment of nearly R130 billion from the current budget to ensure that capacity and resources could be deployed urgently to ensure that the State prepared to put mitigation plans in place to manage the spread of Covid-19. The presidency announced that a total of R500bn would put aside to navigate the impact of the disaster on the State, therefore R130bn was secured through the current budget adjustment and the remainder of the funds were sourced through debt. There were therefore identified departmental programmes and projects that could be defined as softer issues that were either deferred or delayed.

OUR CABINET SCORECARD

MINISTRY OF COOPERATE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS (COGTA): DR NKOSAZANA DLAMINI ZUMA

The Ministry of CoGTA had to navigate the delicate balance of ensuring a seamless transition in governance and administration under the newly elected leadership of Dlamini Zuma and new challenges brought about by Covid-19. The CoGTA mandate is broad and consists of chapter 3, 6, 7 and 12 of the Constitution: Co-operative Government, Provinces, Local government, and Traditional leaders, respectively.

The Minister of CoGTA had the added responsibility of addressing the tremendous impact on the functionality and performance of local government inherent from the disturbing culture of poor governance and administration seen in municipalities as reported by the Auditor-General (AG).

According to the AG, local government was marked by declining financial viability and sustainability, ageing infrastructure and poor maintenance of assets, poor performance information on service delivery, unprecedented skills drainage with adverse impact on the institutional capacity of municipalities, political instability leading to lack of governance, poor oversight and lack of consequence management; and escalating disclosures of unauthorised, irregular and fruitless expenditure (UIF) annually. In brief, the incumbent minister of CoGTA inherited a local government which was on the brink of complete collapse.

Ordinarily, when there is a decline in oversight, monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of policies and legislation by the national government it tends to lead to the poor performance of both provincial and local government; and any inconsistent management or leadership culture that emanates from the national leadership both in government and within the governing party has a severe impact on the whole of government.

The Ministry of CoGTA and in particular local government played a critical role as part of the front-line workers or essential services and all 257 municipalities ensured that bulk services were provided during all levels of the lockdown, including their contribution to the national command council through the district command council that was set up nationally and reported weekly to both national and province.

CoGTA was therefore instrumental in assisting the government to put in place mitigating factors to manage the risk of Covid-19 and to ensure that systems were in place when the country and economy were reopened.

Whereas CoGTA performed fairly well in the implementation of the State of Emergency, the ministry failed to manage the disaster in line with the immediate areas of its core function, which were to address the consecutive adverse reports of the AG on local government, address political instability and intolerance which led to politically motivated killings reported separately from the AG reports, strengthen support on infrastructure planning and development to fast-track service delivery, address good governance and public participation; and jointly with National Treasury develop an informal and formal intervention plan for financially distressed municipalities, including secondment of technical skills to enhance institutional capacity.

The lack of oversight remains a symptom of the extent of the dysfunctionality of local government and pre-dates the pandemic, this is intensified by a report from National Treasury outlining how municipalities have defaulted on third party payments, meaning these municipalities didn’t pay over to the SA Revenue Service, Pension Funds, Department of Human Settlements Water and Sanitation, Eskom just to name a few. The twin tasks of overseeing the municipalities, political interference at local government, failing and ailing provincial governments have been the biggest failure of CoGTA, which providentially is supported by a lot of data.

We rate Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma 3 out of 5.

2. MINISTRY OF FINANCE: TITO MBOWENI

The minister has interestingly spent a lot of time on his farm that perhaps could be better used on performing his day job. Although at times he has served with conviction, the time he spends on social media showing off his “cooking skills” and sometimes arrogantly threatening his rivals has not done his portfolio any justice.

It is important to note that since his appointment, the financial metrics of the country have deteriorated markedly. First, there was the attempt to reduce the deficit by taxing the poor (increasing VAT) and as could be predicted by any sensible person, revenue shrank as the economy tanked and the deficit deteriorated.

Then Minister Mboweni came in and presented one budget after another which raised questions. His primary thesis has been that he will shrink the deficit by cutting public sector wages and by defunding state-owned entities (SOEs). Instead, he has found himself allocating more money to these floundering SOEs and relying on courts to violate signed agreements with labour unions. So, the primary deficit has been continually adjusted up and the rating agencies have seen through this obvious deceit by cutting the ratings of the country to junk.

And when Covid-19 struck this year, the minister continued on his fateful path:

1. He has used the pandemic to force austerity and privatisation.

2. He embedded in the so-called stimulus loans and budget cuts.

3. Even on his own assumptions, most credible commentators agree that debt won’t stabilise.

There is still room for improvement for the honourable Twitter sensation.

We rate Tito Mboweni 3 out of 5

3. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH: DR ZWELINI MKHIZE

While Minister Mkhize is one of the ministers who has been accessible and whose department has worked at the art of communication, his department is one of the ministries whose core policy mandate is often overlooked. In 1994 when the governing party took over, the health ministry signed and pledged alliance to the expectations and philosophy of what today is known as the 1978 Alma-Ata Declaration, which is a commitment of all signatories of the World Health Organization which declared health a fundamental human right and the promotion of health through primary health care.

The South African government also adopted primary health care as espoused in the Alma-Ata Declaration and Universal Health Care coverage as the cornerstone of its health policy, which can also be found in the National Development Plan and central to the National Health Insurance Bill which is a funding model to practise the ideals of the Universal Health Care coverage.

The context of the South African health policy is critical in evaluating how far we are as a country in ensuring that health is not only about curative intervention but prevention of diseases and quality of life of the citizens, to the extent of assessing our response by our health ministry to Covid-19.

The Declaration of Alma-Ata makes the following pronouncements, that:

1. Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, rather than simply the absence of disease or disability.

2. Health is a human right and the existing gross inequalities in the health status of the people is politically, socially and economically unacceptable.

3. Governments have a responsibility for the health of their people, which can be fulfilled only by the provision of adequate health and social measures.

Universal Health Coverage goes further to identify these 3 objectives:

1. Equity in access to health services – everyone who needs services should get them, not only those who can pay for them.

2. The quality of health services should be good enough to improve the health of those receiving services.

3. People should be protected against financial harm.

It’s against this critical backdrop that we are able to assess what the Minister of Health would have accomplished during this Sixth administration.

There is no country which is a member of the World Health Organization and has committed itself to the Alma-Ata Declaration with such a deteriorating health system, uncontrollable lifestyle diseases, profiteering by private health and pharmaceutical companies, skills drainage of health professionals and a litany of legal cases due to medical negligence, which can claim it is closer to reaching the aspirations of Universal Health Care Coverage.

The emphasis on non-pharmaceutical intervention towards Covid-19 is also an indication of a ministry whose epistemology on health is embedded in the pharmaceutical and medical technology which equates prevention of diseases as non-pharmaceutical and not a fundamental aspect of our primary health care.

This being said, the mitigating measures that were put in place by the health ministry, despite all the challenges of our deteriorating health system and the consistent communication between the minister and the citizens of the country, was a key intervention that enabled our country to weather the Covid-19 storm.

Minister Zweli Mkhize, nurses, doctors and all health professionals became front-line soldiers for our country.

We rate Minister Zweli Mkhize 3 out of 5 for his courage and conviction.

4. MINISTRY OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS: LINDIWE SISULU

Inheriting a department which has been riddled with systematic corruption over the years and sheer wastage and disregard of taxpayers' money, Minister Lindiwe Sisulu is one of the few ministers, if not the only minister, who has fired all those implicated in serious allegations of corruption.

Sisulu has lived up to the values of President Ramaphosa’s vision of a corruption-free government to the extent of firing those perceived as her confidantes who abused their proximity to the minister and their oath of office.

Minister Sisulu’s assertiveness and commitment to her oath of office could perhaps be used as a litmus test by Minister Jackson Mthembu on how ministers should be brave to make difficult and unpopular decisions in the interest of the government.

With a commitment and deliverables in ensuring deserving South Africans get humane and decent houses, the trend continued when South Africa was putting measures in place to confront the pandemic, travelling the country to ensure the poorest of the poor have access to temporary housing and sanitation facilities as a preventative measure to fighting Covid-19.

The Department of Human Settlements still has a monumental task of providing housing for the deserving and the bravery of Minister Sisulu in the pool of crocodiles seems like the remedy government needs to expedite service delivery and protect public funds.

For her courage and conviction, Minister Sisulu gets a 5 out of 5.

5. MINISTRY OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION: NALEDI PANDOR

International Relations is about a better Africa and world, it’s more about factors and issues of politics of the world and engagement, not necessarily peace and security, which will include border control, xenophobia and Interpol.

Due to Covid-19, most of the world was locked down and this affected the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco), whose life and breath is inter-country relations and engagements. The department, like many foreign ministries, subjected themselves to the leadership of the World Health Organization, which has been in charge of global relations and intersections necessary to manage and deal with the pandemic. So, from an international perspective, Dirco could not do much except contribute towards finding lasting solutions to Covid-19.

However, in the continent there have been signs of weaknesses within Dirco in its inability to lead and assist in continental engagements to find lasting peace and economic prosperity in Africa. The Democratic Republic of Congo has still not been able to compose a government of unity, there is a genocide in Cameroon were children and civilians are being slaughtered, Mozambique is under siege from terrorist groups which might trickle down to South Africa, it has been announced that Ethiopian Airways intends to buy a stake in SAA yet the country is facing an imminent civil war, and Morocco is repositioning itself as a continental power base.

Lastly, Dirco has no draft on the country’s national interest or common interest. There is no national mission interest that drives all South Africans behind a common agenda. We are still trapped in a colonial agenda which represents right-wing interests and a powerful white-dominated economy which prioritises the interests of the rich and not the majority of citizens.

We rate Minister Naledi Pandor 2 out of 5.

6. DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC ENTERPRISE: PRAVIN GORDHAN

If Tito Mboweni is a liar, Pravin Gordhan is Pinocchio himself. If you question this assertion, ask the creditors and the employees of SAA, Denel and SA Express, and South African taxpayers. He would not give R21bn to Vuyani Jarana, an experienced executive, to fix the mess at SAA. Yet, he has allocated R17bn to SAA this financial year.

And that may not be enough – seemingly SAA and its well-remunerated business rescue practitioners are going through the latest tranche like a child eats ice-cream. A true horror show. Pity Jarana was of the wrong skin colour and no other South African was worthy of the approval of the minister, who had to go all the way to Australia to drag a failed executive to put SAA in more misery while playing with taxpayers’ money.

Terrifyingly, this horror show seems to be moving to Eskom and Transnet, which also happens to rely on employees of the “wrong skin colour” for their performance, which predictably has been deteriorating.

At best Minister Gordhan has polarised the country and nation on his detestation for transformation and his intolerance of experienced, competent and qualified South Africans from all creeds and races.

Now Eskom, unlike SAA, is a R500bn problem; enough to sink the country. Unless the president acts and acts soon, Minister Gordhan will sink the country.

We rate the Minister Gordhan 1 out of 5 for a disastrous performance.

7. PLANNING, MONITORING AND EVALUATION: JACKSON MTHEMBU

While cadre deployment in the governing party is still not based on meritocracy but patronage and factionalism, it is difficult to assess if the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation will ever manage to fulfil its mandate.

The department has finally managed to sign off performance contracts with ministers in what the presidency describes as an opportunity for citizens to call ministers to account, but whether Minister Mthembu can hold ministers accountable is to be seen.

Having won with such a slight margin and a boost from the courts, the presidency unfortunately heavily relies on the powerful factions and their deployment irrespective of their weaknesses, and some with a penchant to always put their hands in the cookie jar.

With no long-term planning and no appetite for new incumbents on continuity, Minister Mthembu is swimming among sharks.

The department continues to be ceremonial, but the performance contracts have been long overdue and for this a decisive action is necessary.

We score Minister Mthembu a 3 out of 5.

8. MINISTRY OF TOURISM: MMAMOLOKO KUBAYI-NGUBANE

The Ministry of Tourism is one of the departments which is highly influenced by perception. Irrespective of the implications of Covid-19, which had a detrimental role in the tourism industry as a result of lockdown and its infectious nature, what has mainly affected this department is the absence of a National Agenda as outlined in our review of Dirco.

A common agenda is critical to the survival and sustainability of the South African Tourism industry, and some of the key deterrents that have affected the department include but are not limited to the following:

• The unresolved crisis at SAA and the utterances by Minister Tito Mboweni; the airline industry works on confidence, the unresolved crisis at SAA and Twitter rants by Minister Mboweni that SAA must shut down drove domestic and international travelling agencies to reverse their bookings and lose faith in the national carrier. The reputation of the national carrier has been battered by those who view SAA from an accounting perspective and not an economic perspective, as the carrier drives tourism.

• The inability of the government to call organisations like AfriForum to order when they drive an international agenda that there is genocide against whites and white farmers, when empirical research from the SAPS shows only a few farmers, both black and white have been killed – 49 farm murderers to be precise, for the year 2019/2020. No murder is justifiable, but it can’t be acceptable that the country’s image is dented by self-serving racists who go to Europe and America to create a wedge between those countries and our country. Those who want to visit the country are confronted with such images and content; it is unacceptable.

• The land question. South Africa is now perceived as another Zimbabwe and very hostile to whites due to the issue of land expropriation. Land redress has also been marketed by those who disagree with it to the international market to posit the country as hostile to whites. This lack of decisiveness on the direction government intends to take on the land question is driving perception and affecting prospective tourists.

• Gender-based violence: The first thing any ordinary tourist searching for information about South Africa will be confronted with is that South Africa is not only violent but it’s also the rape capital of the world and very vindictive to women. It is only brave women from across the continent who will be willing to visit South Africa when the government is unable to deal with real structural impediments such as the economy, which put the most vulnerable in danger.

How South Africa is marketed to the world is very important and while the Department of Tourism has managed to survive all the challenges, the resilience of this ministry will depend on its leadership across the board.

Minister Kubayi-Ngubani scores a 3 out of 5.

9. MINISTRY OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY: EBRAHIM PATEL

The two core mandates of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition are to promote structural economic transformation and a regulatory mandate in areas such as consumer protection and competition. The South African trade and industry environment is highly concentrated and centralised in the hands of a few, while the majority are either employees or recipients of social grants.

There is no robust value-driven programme to ensure that entrepreneurs or SMMEs also participate in the tertiary economy, all this is left in the hands of the unregulated market and it is the nature of our economy that affects every sector of society and other ministries.

On structural economic transformation and regulation – because the key focus of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition has been on competition and not consumer protection, consumers or ordinary South Africans are under the mess of concentrated monopolies who set prices and raise costs as they see fit and this happens because there is no industry competition for established monopolies and oligopolies.

The inability to deregulate powerful monopolies is one of the fundamental reasons why our social protection is weak and the reason why South Africa remains the most unequal country in the world. Take retail companies whose regulatory mandate falls under the department of Minister Patel. Companies such as Pick n Pay, Checkers, Woolworths, Shoprite, Boxer and all these concentrated retailers determine food prices and the food value chain in our country, with no social responsibility to the social conditions in the country where the majority of South Africans live below the breadline. It is this lack of regulatory oversight that sees retail companies being the biggest beneficiaries of social grants and this is a critical component of understanding how this ministry continues to fail consumers and the underprivileged.

Trade and Industry and Competition, which is meant to be a custodian of consumer interest, have no control of food prices, private hospital prices, medical care prices, education prices, energy prices, and many essential services, simply because the department has failed to break up existing monopolies, which is central to its structural economic transformation mandate.

This department continues to fail on its regulatory mandate to protect consumers, its own findings on the health sector found that the entire health value chain is controlled by the same companies which own banks, medical aid, private hospitals and even insurance. These companies go to the extent of gatekeeping new entrants into the health sector, which enables them to manipulate prices as they see fit.

What is even more disheartening is that these private hospitals are also subsidised by taxpayers. Due to their highly concentrated nature, these monopolies are an impediment to the success or growth of SMMEs and job creation, as they deliberately exclude new and small entrants through price-fixing and various forms of collusion which are not even punitive.

The poorest of the poor who are recipients of government social grants are victims of ruthless monopolies that control the retail sector, as their welfare money is primarily spent on high food prices. In fact, the Department of Trade and Industry has reneged on its constitutional mandate.

While there are some master plans, there is no sense of how these master plans will assist with economic inclusion and growth as well as unemployment reduction, as monopolies deliberately exclude the black majority from participating in the mainstream economy.

Designation of products and localisation linked to women and youth-owned enterprises within value chains of auto, clothing and textiles as part of the industrialisation mandate of the department seems not to be a consideration as the entire economic productive value chain is still in the hands of whites.

That is not different development to the special economic zones and industrial parks, which have no link to social infrastructure and township development in terms of digitalisation.

While Minister Patel has finally acted on the National Lottery Commission (NLC), this took too long and the investigation commissioned may be ineffective; and also, if the proposed names for the chairperson of the board are anything to go by, it would seem there is no new thinking in terms of bringing new blood into government, instead of recycled deputations of the same monopolies which hinder transformation.

The economic and social disparities in the country as a result of concentrated deregulated monopolies are not sustainable and need urgent attention from the Department of Trade and Industry and Competition because they sustain the two economies.

We rate Minister Patel 1 out of 5

10. DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: LINDIWE ZULU

While Minister Zulu continues to garner a lot of support from her social media followers for her antics, more than 1 in 4 of South Africans go to bed hungry and the poorest of the poor suffer from pervasive malnutrition.

The mandate of social development is not to keep people in poverty but to take them out. South Africa is faced with a hunger crisis and a food insecurity emergency. In her book, An empty plate: Why we are losing the battle for our food system, why it matters and how we can win it back, food security expert Dr Tracy Ledger gives a chilling account about the state of food security in our country.

Dr Ledger details how a quarter of children under the age of 5 are “chronically malnourished” with long-term effects on their growth, health and cognitive development standards. She concludes that: “It is likely that the single biggest factor that explains our extraordinarily high levels of violence and domestic violence is, in fact, directly related to childhood malnutrition”.

The correlative link between food insecurity and gender-based violence is also one of the least appreciated phenomena in a country where the government simply throws money at everything, without any attempt to change the pervasive structural system which perpetuates hunger, violence and inequality

Her study among many studies on poverty continues to indicate a correlative relationship between poverty and violence and yet, despite billions poured into social security, not many of the initiatives are directed at poverty alleviation as South Africa continues to take the top spot as the most unequal country in the world. Key to her research is how social grants meant to assist the indigent are in fact an instrument of enrichment for retail companies, who charge high prices for basic food that the poor cannot even afford.

While it is still early days for the minister in this position, what is evident is that South Africa needs a sustainable scientific approach to poverty reduction and alleviation.

Minister Zulu gets 2 out of 5.

11. MINISTRY OF POLICE: BHEKI CELE

An integral part of the department of policing is the department of social development. No minister of police can fight crime when poverty, unemployment and inequality are unprecedented and when the structure of the economy remains in the hands of a few.

The police statistics on crime continue to show poverty and racial dimensions, as most of the violent crimes occur in poverty-stricken areas where black people reside, including gender-based violence.

There are even pundits who want to put the blame of gender-based violence on Minister Cele, with no intention to look at what leads to violence, which goes back to the structure of our economy which remains in the hands of the white majority while the poor, in particular black women and children, are subjected to the most inhumane conditions and abuse.

Poverty is a mother of crime and the policemen and women who are underpaid and face increasing danger cannot resolve the economic, education, security and safety crises facing the country. The understaffed and unappreciated policemen and women who have found a leader in Minister Cele under the harsh conditions, including their difficult task under lockdown, are a system which favours the ruling class.

The policing department can only police but cannot take responsibility for the deteriorating poverty crisis and its consequences.

Minister Bheki Cele and his ministry continue to do their best in a country where poverty has been normalised and his department cannot solve the social problems facing the country.

Minister Bheki Cele gets a well deserved 4 out of 5.

12. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION: ANGIE MOTSHEKGA

While Covid-19 was a disaster, it cannot come close to the Minister of Education. No need to even analyse her departmental targets, one must just pull out the records of the millions of unemployed, unemployable and helpless young people who are a product of her disruptive education policies.

With more than a decade of Motshekga at the helm, the Education Department continues to produce learners ready for capitalist exploitation and to be a burden to the labour market. They cannot read, write, and have no skills that can assist them to do for themselves.

While education is meant to be an instrument for socio-economic freedom, the one offered under Minister Motshekga has done more harm than good with all the billions spent from the fourth administration to the current. It has produced human waste and a possible revolution by the school and university drop-outs plus graduates who are wasting away, unable to apply their minds on what to do with their future.

Education is meant to capacitate learners to deal with the triple effects of poverty, unemployment and inequality, but what we observe is a dual education system which benefits the rich and politically connected and not those that gave the minister her mandate.

The deeper analysis could even lead one to believe that entrusting Motshekga with the future of this country is a deliberate ploy to render the majority of citizens dependent on social grants and a welfare state, as it is the poorest of the poor who continue to entrust the governing party with their vote.

The Minister of Education remains a threat to the stability and economic growth of the country.

We rate Minister Motshekga 1 out of 5.

13. MINISTRY OF LABOUR: THULAS NXESI

As with the R246 631 303 of public funds spent on Nkandla upgrades during Minister Nxesi’s term as Minister of Public Works, millions of taxpayers money have gone missing in the Department of Labour under custodianship.

The minister accounts to no one, his political credentials as a leader of the Communist Party and Cosatu puts him above the law and beyond accountability.

When South Africans were promised a new clean, corruption-free government under President Ramaphosa, what they got where the same recycled gang of unaccountable quasi communists who have taken unaccountability to another level.

Minister Nxesi simply can’t be trusted with taxpayers’ money, yet President Ramaphosa continues to entrust him with the public purse.

Under the custodianship of Minister Nxesi as per the auditor-general report, foreigners, dead people, prisoners and soldiers claimed from the UIF Covid-19 fund.

Minister Nxesi is the peak of cadre deployment under President Ramaphosa.

The public cannot continue to have their hard-earned money go missing under the stewardship of Minister Nxesi.

We rate Minister Nxesi a corrupted 1 out of 5.

14. MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS: AARON MOTSOALEDI

While the Gupta landing and their naturalisation continue to fascinate and create a buzz around the dinner table and street corner conversation, questions remain on how Bushiri Gate, in which home affairs was at the centre of the debacle, managed to make the scandal disappear from the public discourse.

Another minister who was supposed to resign after the embarrassing immigration fiasco continues, “business as usual”, simply because South Africans have been sanitised of their ability to call their leaders to account.

Under the stewardship of Minister Motsoaledi, the core mandate of the Department of Home Affairs is to register and affirm the identity and status of citizens and to regulate immigration efficiently and securely. To enable citizens to exercise their constitutional rights and access services. With a vision of a safe, secure South Africa where all its people are proud of, and value, their identity and citizenship.

By simply comparing the mandate and vision of the department and correlating it to the realities of the lawless and borderless South Africa, it is evident that the department is as good as non-existent.

South Africa is primarily burdened by neighbouring countries and a continent which always reminds us that they helped us during apartheid. With all its socio-economic challenges and a brewing crisis of youth unemployment, hunger, energy crisis etc, South Africa is opened for all. While fake pastors from all over the continent, such as Bushiri and Omotoso, have taken advantage of our migratory loopholes, South African major cities have been taken over by undocumented Nigerians, Zimbabweans and Mozambicans, just to name a few. By the same token, Eastern European immigrants have turned our country into a drug hub.

All other African countries have laws and policies which prioritise the citizens of those countries, in South Africa the country belongs to all who live in it. At best, the government even apologises to member states about their delinquent citizens.

Southern African Development Community leaders are not held accountable for their countries’ challenges, Emmerson Mnangagwa can simply summon his comrades to Zimbabwe to give them a scathing lecture about Zimbabwe’s role in assisting the ANC during the struggle while millions of Zimbabweans continue to put a strain on South Africa’s public service, and ordinary Zimbabweans become employees of choice for work which ordinarily should be occupied by unemployed young South Africans.

South Africa simply has no immigration policy, it’s a farce and what Bushiri should have taught us is that SA is a lawless country.

We rate Minister Motsoaledi a 1 out of 5.

15. MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT: FIKILE MBALULA

While transport on the continent and globally is considered a catalyst for economic growth and development, it is also considered a critical component of our infrastructure network which enables the movement of goods and people; it is even considered the life-blood of the economy.

Now as critical as this sector is, with sophisticated complexities, especially in engineering, how does President Ramaphosa see fit to deploy a hopeless child-man, celebrity craving uncertificated person to such a critical department?

Notwithstanding damning irregularities and financial losses found by the Auditor General in entities that fall under the Transport Department which are not linked to state capture, such as Prasa, Sanral and Acsa, Minister Mbalula continues to use state capture to hide his sheer incompetence and neglect of infrastructure.

Instead of turning around entities which fell under this department which were under the grip of state capture, South Africans are confronted with excuse after excuse from the celebrity minister.

How long this minister will be allowed to ride the state capture excuse is a mystery, but what is evident is how clueless he is. Hopefully, President Ramaphosa will appreciate that transport is not simply about taxi drivers but a specialised function which requires precision no different to the Health Ministry, where expertise is prioritised before political compensation.

The South African electorate deserves better.

We rate Minister Mbalula an underwhelming 1 out of 5

16. DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND INFRASTRUCTURE: PATRICIA DE LILLE

Picking up from her predecessor at Public Works, Minister Thulas Nxesi, Minister De Lille could not wait to outshine the Nkandla debacle when her department wasted R40 million of taxpayers' money on the so-called Beitbridge border fence.

As usual, Minister De Lille has not been accountable, even considering mounting evidence of her involvement and intrusion of procumbent processes in her department.

If this is what it takes to retain De Lille for the coloured vote, then South Africans must seek divine intervention, as this is the highest sign of a government on the path towards kleptocracy.

Minister De Lille gets 1 out of 5

17. MINISTRY OF WOMEN, YOUTH AND PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES and MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY: MAITE NKOANA MASHABANE

Minister Maite Mashabane is one minister who has the closest proximity to political power; the fact that she is in the presidency gives her more powers than any minister to influence policies and opportunities that seek to change and empower women, young people and the disabled.

Her inability to influence tangible policies and legislation that seeks to make South Africa safe for women and economically equitable has not yet materialised; we are yet to see a practical blueprint to solve the challenges that affect the millions of young people.

The minister who was vibrant in previous ministries seems to have lost her spark and because her department is also driven by other departments, she is faced with various hurdles

Minister Mashabane gets a 3 out of 5.

18. DEPARTMENT OF MINERAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY: GWEDE MANTASHE

The Department of Minerals Resources and Energy remains the most economically and politically contested department of government, with powerful and highly funded interest/lobby groups attempting to drive the direction and decision making of the department for their own personal benefit. Thus, the performance evaluation of this department requires utmost objectivity outside of any engineered influence.

However, Minister Mantashe has proven to be a no-nonsense minister, putting the minerals and energy sovereignty of the country first, beyond any interest group despite all the attacks.

The ministry is also confronted with policy expectations from the governing party as well as expectations from an established business, black business, communities, traditional leaders and environmentalist groups.

South Africa’s economy is still heavily dependent on the minerals-energy complex industries which are highly financed and foreign-owned. Some of these companies, such as BHP Billiton, Anglo American, Glencore and De Beers, were South African-owned companies but allowed to delist and extract long-term capital from South Africa, and now these companies make their initial profits from the country but extract their capital to Europe, China, Australia, Switzerland and America.

With the mandate to regulate, transform and promote the mineral and energy sector and to provide sustainable and affordable energy, ensuring South Africans derive sustainable benefit from the country’s wealth, Minister Gwede Mantashe is faced with a monumental task.

In the 2019 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) signed by Minister Gwede Mantashe in his capacity as minister, it states that “the IRP is an electricity infrastructure development plan based on least-cost electricity supply and demand. It incorporated objectives such as affordable electricity, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, diversified electricity generation sources, localisation and regional development”.

The IRP goes further to state that the resource plan “attempts to harmonise this dichotomy, especially with regard to nuclear, gas and energy storage technologies”.

Minister Mantashe made amendments to self-generation and allowed municipalities to purchase directly from renewable energy Independent Power Producers He made solid appointments at the National Energy Regulator of South Africa and South African Nuclear Energy Corporation, after the two agencies suffered from political interference

He pushed for nuclear, despite the backlash. He ensured mining houses commit to health and safety regulations putting the lives of miners first.

However, the minister has failed to deal with transformation and does not seem to have the energy to want to confront international mining houses whose objective is to extract capital from the country and invest it elsewhere, while acting against the economic transformation agenda to share in the wealth and minerals of the country.

Minister Mantashe has also tolerated corporate bullying by mining houses in rich mineral areas such as Xolobeni in the Eastern Cape. For a former unionist, the death of community members in Xolobeni due to corporate greed is a reflection of the embedded interests that influence government.

Added to that are foreign renewable energy and coal companies that impose exorbitant prices of primary energy on the country with no economic benefit to South Africans.

We rate Minister Mantashe 2 out of 5.

19. MINISTRY OF SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT: KHUMBUDZO NTSHAVHENI

When asked how much of the R200bn of the Covid-19 relief fund went towards SMMEs, the erstwhile Minister Ntshavheni was proud to announce that of the R15bn from the R200bn that was allocated by the government to help assist SMMEs, 75% of the funds went towards white-owed companies.

The minister whose departmental mandate is to support small business and provide an enabling environment for economic transformation was confident to tell South Africans that her department had ensured that the massive capital injection and intervention to rescue ailing SMMEs only prioritised white-owned companies.

This deliberate racial exclusion of black business, not only by Minister Ntshavheni who gets her mandate from the ANC, but also from the banks which were allocated to disperse the R200bn by the government, is the biggest racist attack by a government which continues to be voted into power by the black majority.

The so-called township economy has also become an informal distributive network for big companies with no added value chain to the township economy. Since there is no robust entrepreneurial drive to industrialise the township economy, money will never rotate in those communities but will go back to Sandton.

The Covid-19 SMME relief fund was the apex of apartheid reincarnated under this administration, which is not shy to display its disdain towards black business.

The shocking racial exclusion of black people from participating in the mainstream economy is a reflection that the black man is still on his own.

While we note that Minister Ntshavheni was a key beneficiary of the CR17 campaign funds, which were donated by white corporate South Africa, her loyalty should be to the constitution of the country, which affirms equity and socio-economic redress.

We rate Minister Ntshaveni 1 out of 5.

20. MINISTRY OF SPORTS ARTS AND CULTURE: NATHI MTHETHWA

While many countries have used the arts, sports and culture as an instrument of nation-building, patriotism, response to social ills including crime prevention and social cohesion under the custodianship of Minister Mthethwa, it has been turned into a ministry of entertainment and funerals.

Fundamental challenges in sports such as racism in rugby and cricket have not been addressed and this is compounded with an approach by the minister which neglects the importance of sports development, especially in townships and rural areas, to produce talented black players and not simply tokens and also produce well-resourced black-owned clubs and sports administrators.

Therefore, the inability of the minister to provide lasting solutions for long-term problems in the sports fraternity is not helping in building a socially cohesive and united society.

The heritage that South Africans inherited post-1994 and the culture that is being created has not managed to restore the dignity, identity and knowledge of the majority of South Africans. Knowledge creators and systems don’t tell the stories and history of the oppressed, and Africans have not been cultured to start seeing themselves outside of the lens of the system and whiteness. And it is his department which must address the historical injustices of culture and knowledge that was manipulated.

Africans known for their ethos driven through ubuntu have now forgotten who they are and restoring their true heritage can help in building a true non-racist and non-sexist society.

The minister has not made any impact in the transformation of sports. The ministry has failed to use sports to mobilise young people against social ills and for their own development while the creative industry is still disorganised.

We rate Minister Mthethwa a 3 out of 5.

21. MINISTRY OF PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION: SENZO MCHUNU

In the last medium-term budget policy statement by Minister Tito Mboweni, he outlined how the country’s response to our fiscal challenges and debt crisis after Moody’s junk status move was primarily dependent on government austerity measures mostly from the public sector wage bill.

Minister Senzo Mchunu has gone ahead to freeze public sector wages in response to the finance ministry cost-cutting measures, but these measures are not innocent, they come as a result of the structural reforms that the International Monetary Fund imposed on South Africa after government borrowed R70bn. Therefore, wage restraint was one of the mandatory conditions given to South Africa as a typical mashonisa would do, as they give you a high-interest loan and keep your identity documents with them if you are to default.

The decision to cut public sector wages was also proposed by rating agency Moody, which consults on behalf of foreign direct investors, outlined that “government failed to contain the rise in the wage bill, the fiscal deficit will reach 7.5 % of GDP in fiscal year 2020 and 7.1% in fiscal year 2021”. So public sector employees who were at the forefront of the Covid-19 crisis became collateral damage.

What is strange with the structural reforms that are targeted at workers and their livelihoods is that the primary spending in government does not go to salaries but towards payment of primary energy and mineral companies that pay rating agencies like Moody.

So the ANC-led government and Minister Senzo Mchunu will rather punish workers, instead of demanding companies reduce their coal, diesel and renewable energy costs prices that are draining the fiscus, and this will not happen because ANC ministers and politicians have vast interest in the same companies.

So either way, highly qualified and competent workers become sacrificial lambs of market-orientated policies while the same ministers have overloaded structures of advisers and consultants who get paid millions in consultancy fees to advise the clueless ministers.

For punishing public servants to advance profit-driven interest, Minister Mchunu gets a 3 out of 5.

22. MINISTRY OF HIGHER EDUCATION: BLADE NZIMANDE

Minister Nzimande is still haunted by allegations of rampant maladministration, irregular expenditure, irregular appointments of executives and gross negligence, especially in the Services Sector Education and Training Authority, where Minister Nzimande has personally appointed executives.

The minister managed to remain very low key while having to explain why NSFAS cut off funding of more than 5 000 students and has managed to keep angry students who faced challenges with online learning because of Covid-19.

The minister has failed to provide necessary tools such as laptops to the needy students during Covid-19; instead he was entangled in the tender of NFSAS.

We rate Minister Nzimande 3 out of 5.

23. MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATION AND DIGITAL COMMUNICATION: STELLA NDABENI-ABRAHAMS

Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams’s term of office has been characterised by a litany of allegations of corruption, ranging from the interference of her husband in executive decisions in the department and in procurement processes.

The minister also had to contend with the embarrassing retaliation of workers at the SABC, who were not prepared to exit the broadcaster because of retrenchment without a fight.

Minister Ndabeni has not managed to finalise and push for the reduction of the parasitic costs of data in the country driven by telecommunication monopolies such as MTN and Vodacom. When the global community and the UN have affirmed that access to the internet is a universal right, ordinary South Africans are held to ransom by companies who have shown no social responsibility to the consumer.

Minister Ndabeni gets a 3 out of 5.

24. MINISTRY OF JUSTICE: RONALD LAMOLA

We are still to note a flagship programme under the minister; there is no unique leadership style which has been brought about by Lamola and no big announcements around big transformative-related changes or departmental changes.

However, Minister Lamola has been vocal and part of a legislative process that seeks to implement pragmatic solutions to deal with gender-based violence.

Minister Lamola has also managed to get necessary funding that will deal with land claims from a holistic perspective and the criminal justice system.

The minister also has the added responsibility to capacitate the NPA and other investigative authorities to fight corruption which the Sixth Administration has failed to curb especially with the PPE scandal.

Minister Lamola gets a 3 out of 5.

25. MINISTRY OF STATE SECURITY: AYANDA DLODLO

There are very limited state security capabilities in South Africa; what we have is a highly sophisticated private security state which benefits from the socio-economic imbalances of the country, the infighting in the governing party and the high rates of crime and violence.

A department that is meant to be an instrument to safeguard the country against internal and external threats has become a spy unit to fight the ANC’s senseless factional battles. However, that blame cannot be put squarely on Minister Dlodlo’s shoulders.

Whether Minister Dlodlo can change the outlook of this department is to be seen, but what is evident is that South Africa is a country with no strategic intelligence from its government, hence we cannot even counter events and incidents.

Minister Dlodlo gets a 3 out of 5.

26. MINISTRY OF DEFENCE: NOSIVIWE MAPISA-NQAKULA

The highlight of Minister Mapisa-Nqakula’s year was giving a lift to her comrades to sort out the crisis in Zimbabwe during the lockdown. The instructions given to the minister by her political party were not her sole decision making, and the rationale that “others” have been invited to travel using state resources makes the argument compelling, but is an important area which the entire Cabinet must look at on how it exercises oversight on travelling expenses using state resources.

On peace and stability, the Ministry of Defence has played a very key role in dispatching defence personnel, including soldiers and military doctors, throughout the continent to assist in protecting citizens and the most vulnerable.

The ministry also played a critical role during hard lockdown by deploying soldiers across the country and our borders to ensure peace and security.

Minister Nqakula gets a 4 out of 5.

27. MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENTAL, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES: BARBARA CREECY

Like in many countries, climate change has become the buzzword as environmental disasters continue to escalate. South Africa, which signed the Paris Accord and also pledged South Africa’s commitment to fighting climate change at the 2019 UN Convention on Climate Change has been instrumental in leading the fight against carbon emissions, and the Department of Environmental Management has played an instrumental role in protecting biodiversity and reversing environmental damage.

Minister Creecy has also been leading in the call for less coal production, which is one of the biggest emitters of carbon, and has also called for greater inclusion of renewable energy in the fight to protect and save our planet.

However, what is strange with the climate change programme led by Minister Creecy is that it's supported and influenced by banks and the same mining houses that were and are to blame for carbon emissions. What is also evident is that renewable energy has become a highly profitable industry heavily funded by banks, exclusionary to black people and guaranteed by Treasury.

This is one industry that is meant to save the world, yet it has enriched conglomerates and passed the buck to the consumers.

What Minister Creecy has failed to do is to regulate the green energy business which has been monopolised by the financial services sector and corporate South Africa to the extent of manufacturing the energy crisis in the country, where the climate crisis is used by conglomerates to bully entities like Eskom to procure expensive energy from renewable companies that also have an interest in extractive mining.

The paradox of this ministry is that it’s embedded in the interest of the mining-energy complex and white corporate South Africa, including forestry and fisheries with no transformational agenda but to drive profits of the same polluters.

Minister Creecy gets 4 out of 5.

28. MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, LAND REFORM AND DEVELOPMENT: THOKO DIDIZA

Poverty levels in South Africa are mostly concentrated in rural areas, where more than half of the population in the rural community is suffering from a food and nutrition crisis. Half of the rural residents live below the poverty line. What government has not managed to do is to articulate policies that support rural-based income-generating activities.

Because the economy of the country is still localised and active in urban areas, the burden of social challenges is now mainly prevalent in the poorest provinces whose typology is rural communities.

While the recent rapid release of the land programme by the department is welcomed, it does not address the land question or agro-enterprise deviations where food production and food processing is still in the hands of whites.

The intervention does not address land and livestock dispossession which was enforced through colonial and apartheid legislation, and will not address the land and agricultural control of companies such as Karan Beef, Tiger Brands, Unilever, just to name a few who control food security and undermine the country’s food security.

The government and this department must surely be pragmatic in dealing with the historical injustice of land and agricultural productions in the hands of a few, but piecemeal agreements will not address the boiling frustrations of the millions of landless and poverty stricken South Africans.

Minister Didiza gets a 5 out of 5.

29. DEPUTY PRESIDENT: DAVID MABUZA

When President Ramaphosa became deputy president of the country and the leader of big business in government, including his appointment to the Eskom war room, he did not throw that opportunity but used it effectively to affirm market-oriented decisions, which saw an exponential increase of primary energy costs which made business richer and transferred all the costs to the consumer.

How one looks at the intervention by the president is neither here nor there, what is critical is that the current president was heavily involved in the critical decisions in government that affected big business.

However, Deputy President David Mabuza has gone missing and has avoided interaction with the constituency he is representing.

Corporate South Africa is suspicious of him and no one seems to trust him and this is not assisted by how the media has portrayed him; one could imagine that when he outlined Eskom’s financial distress as a result of the costs of primary energy and attempting to intervene, the manufactured public perception would be used to discredit his efforts.

With reported health challenges, and reputational damage from his days as premier of Mpumalanga, it’s still difficult to assess whether the Deputy President can come out of his shell and start leading.

Minister Mabuza gets a 3 out of 5.

30. PRESIDENT: CYRIL RAMAPHOSA

As the year comes to an end and our president surveys the landscape, he may be very pleased with himself. Ramaphosa and his business associates are close to achieving their 1970’s mission, which will not be easy to reverse even if he does not secure a second term.

His business associates secured the Total deal as well as strengthened their position at Eskom through IPPs and favourable coal contracts. And now the Covid-19 crisis has allowed him to force the ANC to accept selling key infrastructure. He and his associates are like kids in a candy store. What should they acquire? Medupi or Kusile? The grid? Water infrastructure? Harbours or pipelines? The president has delivered, if only for himself and his associates, not the people he leads.

While he counts his billions and the additional billions his presidency will secure for him, his people live in poverty amid death. As he manoeuvres for his next business deal, they ask neighbours for mealie meal. As he counts his IPP millions, his people ask for R10 to buy electricity for their child to study for matric exams. And oddly, as he uses his power for devious ends, unquestioned by the ANC, supported by the media and the judiciary, the country’s sovereignty has been sold to the highest bidder.

What an irony! And what a year it has been for our president! We give the president a 3 out of 5 with the primary downside being the looting of Covid-19 funds and the failures and weaknesses in many of the other ministries.

* Compiled by the Daily News and Independent Media Investigations Unit.

* Special thanks to the experts and academics who were consulted and contributed to the research and compilation of the Cabinet scorecard.

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