Former minister Masutha ready to serve the ANC again
Politics / 5 January 2020, 12:59pm / Mayibongwe Maqhina
Johannesburg - Former Justice and Correctional Services minister Michael Masutha says he enjoys his retirement from public office and looks forward to any other redeployment by the ANC.
“It feels great. I wake up in the morning and I don’t have to carry South Africa on my shoulders any more because others have it laid out for them to do that after me,” Masutha said in an interview with SAfm radio station this week.
Masutha, who hails from Limpopo, became an ANC MP in 1999 after working as head of legal services in the Social Development Department from 1996.
Prior to that, he worked at Lawyers for Human Rights from 1991 after completing his LLB degree at Wits University in 1990.
Masutha particularly took pride in having drafted the child support grant legislation while still at the Social Development Department.
“I feel humbled to see the number of children who otherwise would be living in absolute destitution from poor backgrounds (benefiting).”
Masutha, who was not re-elected as an MP after the May 2019 elections, said he was grateful to the ANC for the 20-year deployment in Parliament.
“I absolutely have no issues. I think it was a perfect time to allow this opportunity. I stand ready to be redeployed wherever,” he said.
“Otherwise, I take it easy and look forward to new challenging times of life out there,” the former minister added.
Recalling his tenure as a minister, Masutha said he got a “baptism of fire” just two days into his appointment to public office.
There was a court judgment against him which required him to decide on Eugene de Kock’sparole application within 30 days.
“The first five years have been a roller-coaster. I had to deal with the Nxasana matter, which was thrust upon my lap on day one in office. The National Prosecuting Authority was a roller-coaster,” he said.
He also recalled an incident when he invited former NPA head Shaun Abrahams to brief ministers at Luthuli House on matters related to #FeesMustFall protests.
This happened on a Monday, which is a constituency day for MPs and ministers to do party work.
“Little did I know it would cause a stir in South Africa,” Masutha said.
He also said he was glad that the Special Investigating Unit Special Court was resuscitated before he left office.
Part of the challenge in fighting corruption was the clogging of the court system in terms of recovering ill-gotten gains and other civil matters.
“At least we managed to get that going before I left office. I am very pleased about that,” Masutha said.
“I’m pleased about the fact that we got the president to institute the directorate that is going to beef up the NPA in the potential prosecution of wrongdoing that will come from all the commissions that have taken place.”
He was equally pleased that Mpumalanga and Limpopo finally got their own dedicated high court divisions under his tenure.
“Last month before I left the office, I saw the last province in the country have its own dedicated high court come to life, that is the Mpumalanga High Court. You may be aware that in 1994, when we took over, two of the nine provinces did not have their own dedicated high courts,” he said.
“We managed to achieve (that) for Limpopo three years ago.”