Former president Jacob Zuma and former minister Trevor Manuel. Picture: Siyabulela Duda/GCIS
Johannesburg - Former minister Trevor Manuel says the presidency of Jacob Zuma was a disaster for the country, and it would now take longer to rebuild from the damage caused.

He said that Zuma filled important posts in government with “incompetent ministers and department directors” which affected the competence of government.

"I make no apologies, Archbishop, for my views that the presidency of Jacob Zuma was a total disaster for SA."  

"Hospitals are not functioning properly, school feeding programmes in many districts have been discontinued, and we still have children relieving themselves in the veld outside the school because there are no toilets.

"We have seen incompetent ministers appoint unqualified DGs (directors-general) in many departments, happy that competent and dedicated professional public servants had been driven out,” he said. 

Manuel was speaking at the Archbishop Thabo Makgoba Public Lecture at the University of the Western Cape on Wednesday. 

Manuel has served as the minister of finance and the minister in presidency responsible for planning, under Zuma’s administration. He left the government in 2014.

The removal of Mbeki in 2008 had led to a change in the ANC and the direction of the country, Manuel said.

"The ANC would become a mere shadow of what it once was." 

Manuel also spoke about the damaged caused by state capture. Zuma is accused of allowing his close friends, the controversial Gupta family, to illegally benefit from corrupt deals at SOEs with the assistance of government officials. 

SOEs that have been left limping due to corruption, include Eskom, Transnet and Prasa.

"One only has to assess the extent of destruction of key state institutions, especially in the criminal justice and state security institutions.

"In addition, virtually all of the state-owned companies have been bankrupted by the awful combination of corruption and mismanagement. Given the vast sums of money that will be needed to support the SOEs, the delivery of basic services to address inequality will be compromised."

Manuel also gave a gloomy picture of the task that lies ahead for President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was elected as ANC leader at the party’s elective conference in December.  

"His victory was on a slender margin in December, and he has a compromised national executive committee made up of too many individuals who will try and throw concrete into the mechanisms to prevent the wheels of justice from turning.

“It is for this reason that we must all commit to supporting him in his endeavours for leadership against the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment. We need to understand the enormity of the challenge if only to root out corruption," he said.  

Political Bureau