Zikalala ‘demotion’ part of ANC-DA deal – analyst

Newly appointed Minister of Public Works Dean Macpherson replaces former minister Sihle Zikalala. The former minister is now Macpherson’s deputy. | Supplied

Newly appointed Minister of Public Works Dean Macpherson replaces former minister Sihle Zikalala. The former minister is now Macpherson’s deputy. | Supplied

Published Jul 3, 2024


Durban — Political analyst Professor Sipho Seepe said the deployment of Dean Macpherson as the new minister of Public Works and the redeployment of Sihle Zikalala as deputy minister was not a case of demoting the latter, but rather part of the deal struck between the DA and the ANC.

This was after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced his Cabinet on Sunday.

Seepe emphasised that part of the deal required the ANC to give up some ministerial positions and Zikalala was, unfortunately, a part of that.

“The deal also meant that Zikalala had to give up his position so that the ANC could invite other smaller parties like the UDM and PA to work within their quantum of six that they can rightfully lay claim to,” Seepe said.

He said a negative perception was created because people would assume the decision was based on race. He emphasised that it was a political decision.

“The only ministries where there’s emphasis on qualifications is Finance or Law and Education, amongst others.”

Political analyst Thobani Zikalala said that when one looked at Zikalala’s experience as a premier, a KwaZulu-Natal MEC and a minister, experience with governance and this particular portfolio necessitated that he should be more senior than Macpherson.

“I think it would be unfair on him (Zikalala) to demote him in Macpherson’s favour. Firstly, despite having served in Parliament, Macpherson has no governance experience,” he said.

The decision was made to appease the DA, he said. It seemed as though the ANC had compromised most of its senior comrades for the DA’s benefit, including Zikalala, who had been a minister, he added.

He made reference to Aaron Motsoaledi, who was the Minister of Home Affairs, and Joe Phaahla as Minister of Health. They were compromised as the DA demanded the Home Affairs ministry, which resulted in Motsoaledi becoming Minister of Health and Phaahla becoming his deputy.

He said he did not think that much change needed to be made, but that they should shift the focus on the transformation agenda.

KZN Finance MEC Francois Rodgers said he believed Macpherson would bring many skills to the table as he played a role as the shadow minister of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Rodgers said Macpherson understood the challenges that people faced.

He said it was interesting that Public Works now had two DA-led ministers in MEC Marthinus Meyer, who leads the KZN Public Works and Infrastructure Department, and Macpherson, who leads at a national level.

“I think the collaboration between the two will lead to serious changes when it comes to KZN infrastructure,” Rodgers said.

He said the Public Works portfolio focused on assets, ie land and buildings. He said it was responsible for the maintenance of assets across departments and played a fundamental role in infrastructure projects.

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