2014 Cabinet Report Card
Table of Contents Cabinet Report Card 2014: Summary ....................................................................................... 3 The President of the Republic: Jacob Zuma ........................................................................... 10 The Deputy President of the Republic: Cyril Ramaphosa ...................................................... 11 The Minister of Finance: Nhlanhla Nene................................................................................ 12 The Minister of Labour: Mildred Oliphant ............................................................................. 14 The Minister of Small Business Development: Lindiwe Zulu ............................................... 16 The Minister of Trade and Industry: Dr Rob Davies .............................................................. 18 The Minister of Economic Development: Ebrahim Patel ....................................................... 20 The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans: Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula ........................ 22 The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services: Michael Masutha ................................... 24 The Minister of Police: Nkosinathi Nhleko ............................................................................ 26 The Minister of Minister of State Security: David Mahlobo .................................................. 30 The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs: Pravin Gordhan ............. 32 The Minister of Health: Dr Aaron Motsoaledi ....................................................................... 34 The Minister of Human Settlements: Lindiwe Sisulu............................................................. 36 The Minister of Water and Sanitation: Nomvula Mokonyane................................................ 38 The Minister of Home Affairs: Malusi Gigaba....................................................................... 40 The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation: Maite Nkoane-Mashabane .......... 42 The Minister in the Presidency: Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation: Jeff Radebe ............ 44 The Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services: Siyabonga Cwele....................... 46 The Minister of Public Works: Thulas Nxesi ......................................................................... 48 The Minister of Transport: Dipuo Peters ................................................................................ 50 The Minister of Communications: Faith Muthambi ............................................................... 52 The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries: Senzeni Zokwana ................................ 54 The Minister of Energy: Tina Joemat-Pettersson ................................................................... 55 The Minister of Environmental Affairs: Edna Molewa .......................................................... 57 The Minister of Mineral Resource: Ngoako Ramathlodi ........................................................ 59 The Minister of Public Enterprise: Lynne Brown................................................................... 61 The Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform: Gugile Nkwinti .............................. 63 The Minister of Science and Technology: Naledi Pandor ....................................................... 65 The Minister of Tourism: Derek Hanekom ............................................................................ 67 The Minister of Arts and Culture: Nathi Mthethwa................................................................ 69 The Minister of Basic Education: Angie Motshekga .............................................................. 71 The Minister of Higher Education and Training: Dr Blade Nzimande .................................. 73 The Minister of Social Development: Bathabile Dlamini ...................................................... 75 The Minister of Sport and Recreation: Fikile Mbalula ........................................................... 77 The Minister of Women in the Presidency: Susan Shabangu ................................................. 79 The Minister of Public Service and Administration: Collins Chabane................................... 81
Cabinet Report Card 2014: Summary President Jacob Zuma – 1/10 - Absent from Parliament and refuses answer questions. - Has overseen the steady decline of South Africa’s economy - Crises are escalating across the board: unemployment is up, electricity shortages, crime is up, taxes are going up, economic growth is down, labour relations are at a low, he negotiated a R1 trillion nuclear deal in secret and he continues to evade accountability on Nkandla. - The worst performance yet by a failing president.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa – 5/10 - Failed in his duties as leader of government business. Parliament has degenerated into chaos, and he has made it worse by not negotiating in good faith with the opposition. - Refuses to discuss ministerial performance agreements or make them public. - Achieved some success in negotiating a settlement in Lesotho.
Minister of Finance: Nhlanhla Nene - 6/10 - Raised taxes when he should have cut waste and corruption. - No indications that new policies will be pushed to create jobs, encourage growth or the escape the currently stagnant economic situation. - His Medium Term Budget Policy Statement was rebuked by Moody’s, who downgraded South Africa’s debt rating 16 days after Minister Nene’s MTBPS.
Minister of Labour: Mildred Oliphant - 3/10 - No action being taken to deal with crisis in labour relations. - Oversaw the longest and most destructive mining strike in post-1994 history, without taking any action. - Caused loss of 73 000 jobs in the agricultural sector by imposing new minimum wage.
Minister of Small Business Development: Lindiwe Zulu – 2/10 - Embroiled in a tug of war with Economic Development Department and Trade and Industry over key small business functions. - Has not proposed anything of substance to help small businesses. - South Africa has dropped down to 61st in the world for ‘ease of doing business’ under her watch.
Minister of Trade and Industry: Dr Rob Davies – 5/10 - Missed a planned oral question session in Parliament. - Continues to endorse outmoded and anti-NDP Industrial Policy Action Plan, which places the state at the centre of industrial development. - Generally good financial management, with the exception of the NEF and the National Gambling Board which requires urgent attention.
Minister of Economic Development: Ebrahim Patel – 1/10
- High vacancy rates in his department. - Failed to impact economic growth (revised down to 1.4% for the year) or employment (over 35% now). Has proposed no key economic steps to develop our economy. - Continues to advocate for anti-NDP New Growth Path, which only contributes to policy confusion.
Minister of Defence and Military Veterans: Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula – 6/10 - Defence review is currently totally flawed, and proposed an unrealistic and unaffordable military capability for South Africa. - The military has become a ‘state-within-a-state’ that refuses to account to Parliament. - Qualified audit with an administrative breakdown in the Military Veterans department.
Minister of Justice and Correctional Services: Michael Masutha – 6/10 - Big question marks over the independence of the NPA, with the Minister being absent from this important debate. - The public protector is facing serious attacks from the ANC, and the Minister has not stepped in to protect the independence of that office. - Generally open to Parliamentary oversight.
Minister of Police: Nkosinathi Nhleko – 5/10 - Completely absent from Parliament, the media and the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee. - To his credit, he initiated in a committee to investigate the National Police Commissioner, Riah Phiyega. - More than 1400 known criminals still in the police force. - Has ignored the Public Protector’s “Secure in Comfort” report and has not yet determined how much President Zuma must pay back at Nkandla.
Minister of State Security: David Mahlobo – too early to assess - State Security Committee only began work in August due to security clearance process for new members. - Special Operating Unit must be brought under control and made accountable to the Parliamentary committee - Minister must finalise the white paper on intelligence
Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs: Pravin Gordhan - 6/10 - ‘Back to Basics’ campaign well-intentioned to improve service delivery. - But not enough being done to remove corrupt cadres at municipal level. - Minister is open Parliamentary accountability and the department is generally well-run. - Has overseen Mokgalakwena disaster - Auditor General has found massive systemic financial deficiencies in municipal governance
Minister of Health: Dr Aaron Motsoaledi – 6/10 - Did good work to prepare the country for Ebola. - Bungled the medicine supply tender, causing stock outs at hospitals across the country. - Many problems still continue in the health care system, including infrastructure backlogs, shortages of nurses and doctors, poor maternal healthcare and poor mental healthcare. It is still uncertain how the NHI will be implemented to fix these problems.
Minister of Human Settlements: Lindiwe Sisulu – 4/10 - Playing politics with her department to score political points, by selectively investigating housing issues. - Massive administrative and financial management problems with housing projects across the country, with the SIU currently investigating R20 billion in housing projects. - Large numbers on unfilled vacancies in her department that must be filled.
Minister of Water and Sanitation: Nomvula Mokonyane – 2/10 - In denial about the water crisis in Gauteng earlier this year, refusing to accept responsibility or acknowledge the seriousness of the situation. - Did not respond to the DA when we called for an inter-ministerial task team on water quality. A DA investigation found Ecoli in towns across South Africa, yet she ignored all communication on this. - Attends Parliamentary only infrequently. Never attends portfolio committee meetings and does not answer questions directly.
Minister of Home Affairs: Malusi Gigaba – 6/10 - Working towards a commendable move towards a paperless department. - Made a huge mistake by implementing biometric visa requirements, making South Africa significantly less attractive to foreign visitors and investors. - Disclaimer opinion on audit continues to show that the department is not well-administered. - Has engaged with opposition on new home affairs regulations directly - Has acknowledged problems in new regulations and suspended some of them
Minister of International Relations and Cooperation: Maite NkoaneMashabane – 5/10 - Could not resolve the impasse with Nigeria to bring back diseased South Africans speedily. - Refused to provide the Dalai Lama with a Visa, selling out South Africa’s human rights based foreign policy to China. - Minister almost never in Parliament, did not answer questions in the House and does not attend the Portfolio Committee.
Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation: Jeff Radebe – 5/10 - Proposed a massive increase in his department’s budget (from R300 million to R1 billion),
over the Medium Term. - No plans in place to push for implementation of the NDP at departmental level. - His role becoming increasingly political to serve as President Zuma’s “go-to Minister” on a number of political matters not relating directly to his department.
Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services: Siyabonga Cwele – 4/10 - Fighting for control over the digital broadcasting migration process with Communications Minister Muthambi. - Oversaw long and debilitating strike at the Post Office without taking any serious action to resolve it. - No plans in place to roll out ICT access to more South Africans.
Minister of Public Works: Thulas Nxesi – 3/10 - Tainted by his involvement in the Nkandla scandal. - Still 1300 unfilled vacancies at the department, affecting its ability to deliver on its mandate. - The immovable asset register has still not been completed. Until this has been completed it is impossible to efficiently manage all of the property under Public Works’ control.
Minister of Transport: Dipuo Peters – 3/10 - Has not taken action to stop e-tolling in Gauteng. Has in fact been nonresponsive to public outrage, and has undermined Gauteng e-toll review panel. - Needs to bring the recommendations of the Gauteng e-toll review panel to Parliament, so that e-tolls can be stopped with national legislation. - Not enough being done to curb the massive loss of life on South Africa’s roads.
Minister of Communications: Faith Muthambi – 1/10 - Using her portfolio to build a propaganda machine for Jacob Zuma. - Unconstitutionally interfered in the appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as the SABC’s CEO - She was dumped as cabinet spokesperson after just three months in the job.
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries: Senzeni Zokwana – 5/10 - Fetsa Tlala food programme under this department being used for ANC electioneering purposes. - Auditor General commended the Minister for trying to put better management practices in place in his department. - Generally open to input from the DA, but has proposed very little by way of new policies to improve the department’s outcomes.
Minister of Energy: Tina Joemat-Pettersson – 1/10 - Involved in the highly problematic Russian nuclear deal and refuses to disclose any information relating to this matter. - The Gas utilisation Master Plan (GUMP) has still not been completed, further delaying development in this crucial industry.
- Caught misleading Parliament when she denied any involvement in appointing the Petro SA chairperson. Facing a possible Parliamentary ethics investigation on the matter.
Minister of Environmental Affairs: Edna Molewa – 6/10 - Did well to spend the department’s entire budget this last financial year. - SANparks’ audit was problematic and the Auditor General classified it as ‘non-compliant’ with financial procedures. - Critical vacancies at the top of the department still remain.
Minister of Mineral Resources: Ngoako Ramatlhodi – 5/10 - Must be commended for asking President Zuma not to sign the job-killing MPRDA bill. - Uncertain however as to what changes will be proposed to the bill. - Very slow progress with review the MPRDA Bill, perpetuating uncertainty in the oil, gas and mining industries. - Had mining interests while trying to negotiate settlement of mining strike.
Minister of Public Enterprises: Lynne Brown – 4/10 - Major crises at both Eskom and SAA, and no clear plan being provided on how to turn those entities around. In fact, denies that there is any crisis! - Eskom’s bosses spent R43 million on a New Age “business breakfast” and the Minister has tabled no response to this issue. - Largely unresponsive to Parliamentary oversight and has not provided answers to the long list of questions about what is going on at SAA and Eskom.
Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform: Gugile Nkwinti – 5/10 - Generally open to Parliamentary oversight and responds to questions fairly comprehensively. - Worrying vagueness about the goings-on at the Ingonyama trust. - Proposed unworkable, forced 50-50 land ownership model between workers and farmers that was massively destructive to investment in farming. - Acts contrary to the NDP, and proposes police outside of the NDP
Minister of Science and Technology: Naledi Pandor – 8/10 - Good financial management, as the Auditor General only flagged minor problems that were dealth with immediately. - Minister has clear plans on how to promote Science and Technology and research and development. - The Minister does however spend a lot of time in Parliamentary sittings, and has become one of the most vocal defenders of President Zuma on the ANC benches, even though he is clear breach of the rules of Parliament.
Minister of Tourism: Derek Hanekom – 6/10 - Has not done enough to fight against the destructive visa regulations implemented by Home Affairs.
- Is generally open to input. - Generally follows the lead of departmental officials, and must still stamp his own authority on the department.
Minister of Arts and Culture: Nathi Mthethwa – 5/10 - Policy still outstanding on monitoring of the implementation of the Use of Official Languages Act 12 of 2012. - Poor attendance to Parliament as he has only attended one Portfolio Committee sitting. - Did good work on having Nat Nakasa’s remains returned to South Africa.
Minister of Basic Education: Angie Motshekga – 6/10 - Minister Motshekga has good intentions and works hard, but has not overcome the destructive grip of SADTU on the education system. - Pass rates might have increased, but the quality of the education children receive is still exceptionally weak. - The department has good policy in place, but struggles with implementation.
Minister of Higher Education: Dr Blade Nzimande – 5/10 - Unrealistic targets have been set, given the current R51 billion shortfall in NSFAS. - Minister Nzimande has made worrying comments, stating the need for ‘patriotic’ universities. - Audit outcomes have improved somewhat, although the department still missed 50% of the targets it set itself.
Minister of Social Development: Bathabile Dlamini – 4/10 - Means testing still blocking more than 2 million people from getting access to child support grants they are entitled to. - Significant administration problems in the department: fraud and maladministration at SASSA, the child protection register is still dysfunctional and a 75% shortage of social workers persists. - The Minister generally attends Portfolio Committee meetings, but does not answer questions timeously.
Minister of Sports and Recreation: Fikile Mbalula – 3/10 - Is on record calling our National Football Team a “bunch of losers”. - Little is being done to roll out sports infrastructure to South Africans. - A success for the year was the launch of the Netball Premier League. - Held a multi-million Rand awards ceremony last night but denies funding to grass roots sports initiatives.
Minister of Women in the Presidency: Susan Shabangu – 4/10 - Has not provided any coherent vision for the future. - Reports are constantly being submitted late. - The Minister made a number of problematic statements that were condemned by gender rights groups at the recent launch of the ’16 days of activism’.
Minister of Public Service and Administration: Collins Chabane - 5/10 -failed to address the public sector wage bill, which is currently a staggering R450 billion, almost half of the national budget. -failed to ensure President Zuma sign into law the Public Administration Management Bill, which was gazetted in August 2013. -failed to draft and implement a new Ministerial Handbook, which will go far to curb cabinet spending.
The President of the Republic: Jacob Zuma Failure to Lead President Zuma has failed to provide leadership to South Africa, to the Executive and Parliament during this term. He has undermined and ignored the Constitution and his constitutional obligations. The economy of our country is in fast decline, without any intervention from President Zuma. Instead, he spends his time abroad, entering South Africa into massively expensive deals and agreements with rogue nations. The Absent President: Missing Inaction/Missing In Action 2014: The worst performance in Jacob Zuma’s years in office. The President has been all but absent from duty since reinauguration. While crises escalate across the board in South Africa, President Zuma has hidden further and further from accountability and disappeared from any and all official scrutiny. Missing from Parliament While the President scores 1 out of 10 for his ribbon-cutting skills, his greatest ommission is that he has broken the Rules of Parliament and has bunked his duty to appear in the House to answer questions, on three occasions this year. He is a triple-offender at violating Parliament’s rules and the Constitution on this score and by doing so has demonstrated that he believes he is above the law. He has provided non-answers to our written questions, and dodged any replies that give details or facts, even when pressed for unequivocally specific answers by the Opposition. Failures to Act in the interest of the Republic He has sat back silently (probably at Nkandla) while his ANC devotees in Parliament have exonerated him for R246-million of undue benefit from our tax money. He has negated the Public Protector. He has mishandled an inquiry into the National Director of Public Prosecutions. He has failed to suspend Ellen Tshabalala from the SABC. He has sold South Africa into a BRICS Bank black hole. He has allegedly gotten us into a R1-trillion Nuclear confusion. He has failed to prevent massive ratings downgrades, and he has downplayed corruption as a ‘Western Paradigm’. President Zuma has turned his back on South Africa and on our people. Looking Ahead The key challenges for the President in 2015 will be to: Pay back what he owes at Nkandla; Attend Parliament and fulfil obligations to answer oral questions in terms of the Rules – once per term of Parliament so that South Africa can get answers and explanations from its President; Commit to fully implement the National Development Plan and not be side-tracked by factionalism and alliance pressures; Renounce corruption and submit to any and all processes that investigate personal acts of corruption; and Clarify the status of the National Director of Public Prosecutions. Grade: 1/10
The Deputy President of the Republic: Cyril Ramaphosa The “Follower of Government Business” Deputy President Ramaphosa’s first term in Executive Office has been entirely unspectacular. The Deputy President has failed to Lead Government Business, and has let the business of Parliament descend, far from its mandate to hold the Executive to account. The Deputy President has followed a line from Luthuli House, rather than led, to prevent Ministers and the President bunking Parliament, and he has no plan to get them to appear. Failure to Plan for the NDP Deputy President Ramaphosa has sat back and failed to take strong leadership on implementing the NDP. He has laid down no steps to achieve this actively, and will not disclose how Ministers are being managed into implementing the NDP. Failures to Act in the interest of the Republic He has hidden the Performance Agreements with Ministers from the public, and won’t discuss their terms. The Deputy President scores 5 out of 10 for positive moves he made in negotiating a settlement of the Lesotho Parliament crisis, securing South Africa’s water source in that country. The Deputy President has attended oral questions sufficiently. Some answers, though, have clouded the truth and have often dodged the real facts. He has protected President Zuma, and used a Parliamentary deal with opposition parties to try to score internal ANC points, rather than to find a meaningful solution to the issues plaguing Parliament. South Africa is today further away from getting answers from our Ministers and President, further away from a Parliament that meets its mandate, and further away from effective government business – all on the watch of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. Looking Ahead The key challenges for the Deputy President in 2015 will be to:
Guarantee the Executive fulfils every Parliamentary obligation, without fail; Sanction members of the Executive who fail to fulfil their obligations; Make public the Performance Agreements with Ministers; Urgently table a comprehensive plan to enforce implementation of the NDP.
The Minister of Finance: Nhlanhla Nene Policy Direction The Minister served as Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Finance and Deputy Minister of Finance before his appointment as Minister of Finance in May 2014. Since his appointment, he has presented the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement and has responded to several debates in Parliament. What is clear from the outset is the Minister is extremely conservative in his policy and action, rarely deviating from that of his predecessor. This is highly problematic, as what is required is a Minister who implements bold and innovative measures in order to boost the economy and job creation, not an absent minded Minister going through the motions of tried and tested policy that does not produce results. His appointment came at a very difficult time, as our economy continues to stagnate. Since his appointment economic growth estimates have been revised downward, from 2.7% in February to a projected 1.4% currently. South Africa’s fiscal deficit currently stands at 4% of the GDP, which is R153 billion. Added to this is the negative outlook for our sovereign debt rating, as rating agency Moody’s has very recently further downgraded our sovereign credit rating. The Minister has stated that the general policy direction is to pursue the National Development Plan, although it is clear that conflicting views exist within the ANC as ideological battles continue within the economics cluster. In particular, the New Growth Path (NGP) and the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) are both in direct contradiction to the NDP. This policy uncertainty is severely hampering economic growth. Moreover, the socalled “developmental state” model which places the state at the centre of economic activity, is failing at every turn. The Minister’s Medium Term Budget Policy Statement presented the National Development Plan as the policy reference point and set out action to be taken. However, his subsequent action has not demonstrated this commitment. For example, the NDP states that SMMEs are expected to create 90% of the jobs required to meet its objective of 11 million jobs by 2030, however the MTBPS was completely silent on entrepreneurship and small business development. Moreover, his response to the debate on the Development Bank of Southern Africa Amendment Bill indicated that immediate action on his announcements is unlikely. The Minister had a golden opportunity to signal to local and international investors that he will fix the mess of the State Owned Enterprises when the matter of the people underwriting further capital to the DBSA came up. His message could have been loud and clear, and he could have said that the DBSA must be efficient or fold. He said nothing new, despite the promises. In the short term the Minister has failed to adequately address the following issues: the bloated salaries at state agencies and entities; the R30billion fruitless and wasteful expenditure by government; how the National Health Insurance and pending nuclear deal will be funded; and the current crisis regards state owned entities which are haemorrhaging the public purse. He has not provided a credible solution to the fiscal pressure government is currently
experiencing, which led to Moody’s downgrading our credit rating only days after his MTBPS. Minister Nene must provide clear answers on how the deficit will be cut, how the new taxes he proposed will be structured, and how the State-Owned Entities will be restructured to be financially viable. Attendance and Attitude The Minister does attend Parliament when Finance matters are debated. He regularly attends the Finance Portfolio Committee, when he is invited. However, his attitude towards questions and debates are of concern. His response to the DA in debates is largely dismissive and defensive. Administration, Finance and Organisational Skills With government departments and entities squandering an estimated R30billion a year, one would have expected the Minister to announce significant steps to address this, and improve the overall performance regarding the financial management of public funds. However, in his MTBPS he responded with weak measures such as cutting planned expenditure on travel and subsistence, conference venues, and catering. There is currently a serious problem at SARS, with the executive committee having being suspended, and an external investigation into the SARS National Research Group. SARS is a vital component of Treasury tasked with the responsibility of administrating tax-payers’ money. It is therefore of great concern that the Minister has remained silent on this issue, failing to intervene in any meaningful way. The Bottom Line The current economic crisis has presented an opportunity for the Minister to take bold and decisive action to ensure the public that our economy will begin to recover, and the public finances are appropriately spent. He has failed to achieve this, and has chosen to implement the same old worn out policy, without addressing the critical issues that are hampering our economic growth. Tax is set to be increased, meaning that the people of South Africa will fund further mismanagement of our economy. This is a clear indication of poor leadership by the Minister, when instead he should have put bold measures in place to stop corruption and waste. Looking Ahead All eyes will be on the Minister’s maiden Budget Speech in February, where he is likely to announce tax increases. If he does not do this within the framework of real action on improving effectiveness, our economy will not recover, and countless more South Africans will find themselves unemployed. Grade: 6/10
The Minister of Labour: Mildred Oliphant Policy Direction The Minister of Labour is largely a non-entity in Parliament. She is not accountable, largely absent from meaningful engagement, and has set no visible and tangible direction for the department other than to blindly follow orders from Luthuli House. In 2013 the Minister of Labour drafted and submitted to Parliament substantial reforms to crucial legislation, including the Labour Relations Act, The Basic Conditions of Employment Act, the Employment Equity Act, and a new Public Employment Services Act. Most of these, and the ancillary regulations, were assented to by the President, gazetted, and are in the process of being implemented in this year. However, during 2014 the Minister has essentially relinquished her policy direction to the Deputy President, the President and Nedlac. The key policy being driven is the National Minimum Wage which seeks to slavishly implement a resolution of the ANC from the Mangaung Conference. The only policy which the Minister has personally and of her own volition sought to develop is the issue of compulsory interest arbitration. Very little progress has been made, with the issue still in talk shops. While compulsory interest arbitration aims to reduce the length of certain strikes, it will in all likelihood be ruled unconstitutional. Amid the current crisis of labour relations in South Africa, illustrated by prolonged and violent strikes, the Minister has failed to introduce any new measures to improve the dire state of labour relations, despite the glaring need for reform. The Minister is also responsible for the 73 000 jobs lost in the agricultural sector, due to the sudden and significantly large minimum wage increase in that sector at the beginning of 2014, which she implemented. Overall, the Minister has blindly followed Luthuli House instructions when it comes to policy, and does not show an independent mind on policy direction, or an appetite for deep understanding of the consequences of the ever growing restrictive labour environment that facilitates and drives our ever increasing unemployment rate. Attendance and Attitude Minister Oliphant attends the house erratically. When she does show, the quality of her answering of parliamentary questions is particularly poor. Often these questions are only partially answered, and large sections of questions are simply ignored. It is becoming increasingly difficult to get full answers to any written parliamentary questions, or to obtain documents from the department, some of which are shrouded in secrecy. The Nedlac Special Audit Report is a telling example of this attitude. Departmental officials have been told by the Minister to provide as little information as possible to opposition Members of Parliament who ask written questions. The Board of the Compensation Fund claim they have repeatedly made proposals for the reform of the dysfunctional Compensation Fund, with their suggestions and recommendations falling on deaf ears as the Minister simply ignores the Board. The Minister shows weak leadership and a disinterested attitude.
The ANC has clearly used their majority in the Labour Portfolio Committee to shield the Minister from any real interaction with the committee. The Minister very rarely attends committee, and is hardly ever invited. Administration, Finance, and Organisational Skills The Department of Labour has had an acting Director-General since the departure of Nkosinathi Nhkleko, even though Cabinet has last week agreed that Thobile Lamati will be appointed as the new Director-General. The Minister has refused to deal with the issue of the Legal Advisor, Advocate Pasha who has been on suspension with full pay for over 3 years. The department has many vacancies, acting staff and inappropriate appointments. The Department of Labour is “cadre central” with very few officials who are not political appointments. It is not surprising that the department is administratively dysfunctional. The lack of sufficient expert labour inspectors in the department leads to the big problems in that labour conditions are not being sufficiently investigated. Occupational health and safety will slide in South Africa if this is not urgently rectified. The Bottom Line This Minister is not up to the task. The Department of Labour is essentially an ineffective dumping ground for cadres, with no policy direction, while the Minister sits by idly watching everything crumble. Urgent intervention is required. She is significantly worse than her predecessor, Shepherd Mdladlana, who at least showed some visible signs of leadership. The strike crisis we currently face serves to show how the current labour relations environment is desperately failing. The Minister has no plans to improve the situation. Looking Ahead A DA Minister of Labour would have long ago reviewed current labour legislation, looking at reducing the need for strike action, dealing with strike violence, protecting the growth of small business, and generally improving the labour relations environment in South Africa. This truly is a crisis. If the Minister is not up to this challenge, she should be removed as soon as possible, to prevent further labour relations melt down, policy stagnation, job losses and violent strikes. Grade: 3/10
The Minister of Small Business Development: Lindiwe Zulu Policy Direction This department was formed after the May general elections following calls for the government to pay more attention to the needs of small and medium enterprises. The DA was opposed to its formation on the grounds it would add more bureaucracy and have little impact. It is now clear that the DA was in fact correct. Minister Zulu’s term in office has been characterised by much talk and little action. She came to the job with no experience in her portfolio, having to start from scratch in learning about the small business landscape and the principal role players. In October she admitted to the Portfolio Committee on Small Business Development that she was out-manoeuvred early in her term by colleagues, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, and Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel, who insisted on retaining key small business functions within their departments, namely business incubation support and small business finance. This has forced her department to propose the formation of similar functions within its department, without which it would be hard to justify its existence. The resulting duplication of functions will lead to problems of accountability, unnecessary costs, and confusion as to which department is providing which function. The department has been hamstrung by not having its own budget, premises, or full complement of staff. It is currently relying on a Memorandum of Understanding with the DTI whose staff and functions are migrating, but this is happening very slowly, which impedes policy development. In her presentation to the Portfolio Committee strategic workshop in October, Zulu repeated most of what she had said in July about her department’s mandate, mission and objectives, and very little appears to have been achieved in the intervening four months. Following pressure from ANC members of the Portfolio Committee, including the Chair, the department’s mandate has expanded to include cooperatives. There are signs that policy will emphasise micro and survivalist businesses at the expense of high-growth businesses with the potential for significant job creation. Attendance and Attitude Her attendance in Committee has been good, and her attitude respectful, open and cooperative. She appears to be keen to learn the job and consult widely. This is in sharp contrast to her attitude and behaviour in the National Assembly, where she has been belligerent, rude and disrespectful of opposition members. Administration, Finance, and Organisational Skills Minister Zulu and her Acting Director General failed to adjust the departmental Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) insisted upon by the Committee chair, and she hands over matters of financial and administrative detail to her senior staff. She shows no obvious skills in these areas. The Bottom Line The Minister has had a very visible profile since her appointment due to the high expectations
placed upon her and her department to make an impact on small business development. She has been given opportunities on various national platforms to explain what she is going to do to ease the regulatory burden and create incentives for small business, but has done little to put her ideas into practice. The World Bank's ‘Doing Business’ report for 2015, found that over the past year, South Africa has dropped by six places in the overall world ranking, from 37th to 43rd. Crucially, in the ‘Ease of starting a business’ category, South Africa dropped from 55th to 61st place. This simply means that since the creation of this department, it has become more difficult to start a business in South Africa. Looking Ahead The Minister has stated her intention to bring the National Small Business Act of 1995 to Parliament for further amendments, but is silent on what these might be. There is a very real danger of policy stasis and the lack of will in other key economic cluster departments to implement necessary reform measures for small business development will quickly lead to loss of faith in the department’s effectiveness. Minister Zulu has to assert herself quickly in 2015 otherwise she will be seen as a lame duck. This begins with having her budget passed and persuading both the DTI and the EDD to release all small business functions to her department. Grade: 2/10
The Minister of Trade and Industry: Dr Rob Davies Policy Direction Minister Davies is an expert on trade issues, and is both hard working and honest. However this seems to be in vain, as he is blinded by ideology pursuing the dream of a by-gone era. He is committed to an economy that should re-industrialise, using a mix of protectionism and subsidies as a priority, and trade as a lesser priority. The DA disagrees with this ideology. The Minister has a clear policy for the department of Trade and Industry, namely the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP). It sets out the government’s policy programme for the reinvigoration of the manufacturing sector. However, while the policy is clearly set out, it is not coherent or focused. At times it relies on incentives programmes, and at other times it relies on direct intervention into the pricing mechanism of various resource markets. The DA does not support IPAP’s “punitive” aspects, which seek to control prices and define which sectors and businesses can participate. We prefer positive industrial policy that incentives investment, particularly in reconstruction and development, and infrastructure. Certain aspects of IPAP are well implemented, others are near to dysfunctional. However, most importantly, IPAP is diametrically opposed to the National Development Plan, which the DA supports. The NDP focuses on market driven planning, as opposed to the state at the centre of planning, as envisaged in IPAP. Attendance and Attitude In November this year, Both Minister Davies and Deputy Minister Masina missed their oral question session in Parliament as they were both out of the country, albeit separately. These question sessions are vital for the purposes of accountability, and are set long in advance. It is therefore simply unacceptable that this oral question session was missed, raising serious questions about his attitude toward parliamentary accountability. Aside from that, Minister Davies is often in committee and responds reasonably well to questions and correspondence. As for written parliamentary questions, some of his replies do not fully answer the questions posed, evading important details demanded by the DA. Administration, Finance, and Organisational Skills The Department of Trade and Industry, in comparison with other government departments, does considerably better in its financial management. There is little wasteful expenditure, and the department consistently obtains an unqualified audit from the Auditor-General. However it is the department’s entities that often cause financial concerns. This year, Minister Davies suspended the board of the National Gambling Board, amid allegations of fraud and corruption. These included a R1,6 million junket to Norway by board members, some of whom tried to get the entity to pay for their spouses to accompany them; irregular appointments, one being an HR manager at R2.2 million per year; and the signing of a 10 year lease that cost R58 million. Added to that, the CEO of the National Empowerment fund, another DTI entity, earned a whopping R5.2 million package last year, despite a financial moratorium that was imposed on the NEF due to financial constraints.
Minister Davies needs to keep a much closer eye on the financial behaviour of entities which fall under his department. The Bottom Line The Department is not a total failure, as it does have some programmes which do work, and there are some aspects of policy that the DA agrees with. However Davies’ broad policy direction is damaging to the South African economy, it is deterring investment, is adding to policy confusion as it contradicts the NDP and ultimately it is costing jobs. Looking Ahead Minister Davies must now focus on promoting trade by creating trade free zones in Africa. The World Bank's ‘Doing Business’ report for 2015 ranked South Africa 100th in the world for “trading across borders”. Significant improvements to our trade policy are required, in order to boost GDP and create new jobs. Minister Davies must abandon the ideology that sees the state at the centre of development, and must implement serious reform to the department’s policy, which focuses on getting economic outsiders into the economy, and fostering job creation by attracting foreign investment. Grade: 5/10
The Minister of Economic Development: Ebrahim Patel Policy Direction Minister Patel and his department have failed to facilitate economic growth in order to create real and sustainable jobs for unemployed South Africans. The department’s mandate is to support economic growth and job creation and to prevent any stumbling blocks in its way. South Africa’s GDP growth rate is at an estimated 1.4% and the broad defined unemployment figures have increased to roughly 35%. With conditions this dreadful, it is quite clear that Minister Patel and his department are doing more wrong than right. The Minister, the department, and the portfolio committee have a fixation with the New Growth Path and the National Democratic Revolution, as opposed to the National Development Plan. This ideological gridlock in national economic policy is the root cause of the lack of economic growth in South Africa. It is simply unacceptable that this department’s policy acts in direct contradiction to the national policy – the National Development Plan. The Key job driving sectors - agricultural, mining and manufacturing - have lost jobs according to labour Survey reports. In July this year, mining lost 5 000 jobs, agriculture lost 39 000 jobs, and manufacturing lost 60 000 jobs. This shows a regression which must be adequately dealt with by Minister Patel. On a question to the Director-General of this department on what they have done to identify possible stumbling blocks, and what they have done subsequent to realising the magnitude of the job losses to rectify the situation and to drive the corrective measures, the answer was a resounding “nothing”. Moreover, the department has done little or nothing to drive competitiveness of businesses and decrease the cost of doing business. Minister Patel has spent money that was budgeted for vacant positions on a Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) publicity campaign. This correlates with his reported attempts to influence ETV to give undue exposure to those PICC projects. The Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) is administered by the department and is meant to facilitate and coordinate infrastructure development in the country. The DA is of the view that this entity should fall under the Presidency, and not under the Economic Development Department. Attitude and Attendance The Minister and his deputy have attended a number of portfolio committee meetings. However attendance is not the issue at hand. Rather it is the inadequate responses received from the Minister, as there are a number of responses to questions still outstanding. Administration, Finance and Organisational Skills The vacancy rate in the department is still very high, which was exacerbated by the use of funding for the PICC publicly campaign. Departmental spending patterns on administration and on the Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) and core functions of the department do not correlate, as spending is sporadic and lacks strategy.
The Auditor-General has expressed concerns about internal control and management measures of the Department. If it was not for the pointing out by the AG in the investigating process, the department would have received a qualified audit report. Bottom Line There seems to be increasingly less logic for the existence of this department for two reasons. Firstly, the department’s failure to carry out its mandate is demonstrated by our current economic and employment crisis. Secondly, the vast majority of functions performed by Minister Patel’s department can and should be performed by other departments. The IDC should go back to the Department of Trade and Industry, SEFA should report to Small Business Development department, ITAC deals more with export trade and should therefore stay with the Department of Trade and Industry. Lastly, the PICC should stay in the Presidency and handle its own secretariat, as it is intrinsically linked to the National Development Plan. Looking Forward If Minister Patel wants to make a real impact on economic growth, job creation, and job preservation, he should initiate his own plans to broaden the economic base so that more real and sustainable jobs can be created, and economic growth can be achieved. The green economy, tourism, agricultural, mining and manufacturing sectors all have the ability to create real jobs on a sustainable basis. He should also be doing a lot more to make South Africa a greater part of the new economy, by promoting an enhanced IT infrastructure. An example of the kind of interventions Minister Patel could undertake would be the Singapore TECH Fund that encourages investment in IT businesses in Singapore and results in direct economic growth. Focus must also be given to strengthen the competitiveness of small and medium businesses, with real incentives for both growth and job creation. Unfortunately, Minister Patel is still obsessed with the outmoded New Growth Path, acting in direct contravention to the NDP. This renders him increasingly irrelevant. Grade: 1/10
The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans: Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula Policy Direction The South African Defence Review 2014 (“Defence Review”) is the biggest defence policy shakeup in more than a decade within the Defence Force. According to the Defence Review, the Defence Force: “…is in a critical state of decline, characterised by: force imbalance between capabilities; block obsolescence and unaffordability of many of its main operating systems; a disproportionate tooth-to-tail ratio; the inability to meet current standing defence commitments; and the lack of critical mobility.” Moreover, according to the Defence Review: “…even with an immediate intervention, it could take at least five years to arrest the decline and another five years to develop a limited and sustainable defence capability.” That is why the Defence Review must succeed if the Defence Force is to succeed. However, the Defence Review process was deeply flawed and is unlikely to reverse the critical state of decline in the Defence Force. Firstly, the Defence Review was not a Defence Review; the Defence Review was a review of Defence Policy. Secondly, the Defence Review was carried out in a national security and foreign policy vacuum. Thirdly, the Defence Review does not contain a final force design, which must still be completed by the Military Command. Finally, the budget for the Defence Review’s proposed desired end-state has not been approved by the National Treasury. The Defence Review Committee does not seem to have understood the iron law of public policy-making, which is: “you cannot do what you cannot fund”. That’s why the Defence Review’s proposal to reshape the Defence Force to include 189 000 personnel and 158 combat units, consuming R88 billion, or 2.4 percent of GDP, is not going to happen. Attendance and Attitude The Defence Force has become a state-within-a-state beyond proper scrutiny and oversight by Parliament. In the past two years: the Minister has never appeared before the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans and has appeared only twice before the Joint Standing Committee on Defence.
In the past five years: the Chief of the Defence Force has never, ever appeared before the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans and has never, ever appeared before the Joint Standing Committee on Defence. And, for the past five years, the committees: have never received a detailed briefing on military preparedness despite spending R10.3 billion on force employment; have never received a detailed briefing on defence acquisition despite spending R3.6 billion on capital acquisition; and have never received a detailed briefing on supposedly secret funds despite channeling R25.7 billion through the Special Defence Account. The Minister is taking the Defence Force down a very dangerous road, away from the future, and back to the past, by introducing a dangerous new creeping authoritarianism in the Defence Force. Administration, Finance and Organisational Skills The Department of Defence received a qualified audit in the 2013/14 Financial Year. However, ground zero of the administrative meltdown was in the Department of Military Veterans. The Department of Military Veterans is in financial chaos and received a disclaimer in the 2013/14 Financial Year. The Department of Military Veterans’ annual financial statements could not be audited because of the financial chaos in the department, which included irregularities in procurement, and resulted in forensic investigations and the eventual suspension of Director-General, Tsepe Motumi. The Bottom Line In the end, if the Defence Force is going to succeed, the Defence Review must succeed. However, the Defence Review is now in deep trouble and therefore the future of the Defence Force hangs in the balance. Looking Ahead The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s biggest challenge looking forward is therefore to rescue the Defence Review. Grade: 6/10
The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services: Michael Masutha Policy Direction The merger of Justice and Constitutional Development with Correctional Services arguably created one of the biggest executive, legislative and oversight portfolios in the South African government. The well-intentioned Minister Michael Masutha – a newcomer to Cabinet, albeit with 15 years of parliamentary experience and a year in the executive as Deputy Minister of Science and Technology – is yet to demonstrate a firm grasp over this grossly inflated portfolio and its numerous challenges. The visions of both departments were inherited from Minister Masutha’s predecessor and remains unchanged. The Minister’s legislative agenda to date – the Maintenance Amendment Bill, the Legal Aid Bill, the Sexual Offences Amendment Bill and the Attorneys Amendment Bill – can best be described as legislative band aids geared towards plugging holes and filling gaps in the existing legislative framework, rather than introducing any novel or visionary thinking. This has also demonstrated the expected neglect of Correctional Services. The Minister is yet to visit a single correctional facility according to our latest information. The first six months of the Minister’s tenure has proven turbulent with big question marks over the state of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the ANC onslaught against the Public Protector. In both instances the Minister’s actions have been inadequate or nonexistent. Attendance and Attitude The Minister regularly attends sittings of the National Assembly – perhaps more than desirable given the huge burden of the portfolio and the serious challenges requiring his attention. Minister Masutha has attended every Question Day for his Cluster. While he has answered questions, the answers are vague and less than satisfactory. The Portfolio Committee has only seen the Minister once – for the introduction of the budgets of his departments. It is understood that the Minister has appeared before the Select Committee on Security in the National Council of Provinces far more regularly, and perhaps excessively given that his portfolio falls squarely within the sole and exclusive mandate of the national executive. Justice and Constitutional Development Deputy Minister John Jeffrey has arguably driven the ministry’s legislative agenda in Parliament and in committee, while Correctional Services Deputy Minister Thabang Makwetla has been missing in action. Administration, Finance and Organisational Skills The Minister’s impact on the extensive administrative, financial and organisational challenges faced by both Departments remains to be seen, and this will likely only become evident in the 2015/16 budget allocation and the 2014/15 Annual Report.
It is also not yet clear whether the Minister can or has asserted himself in his new role sufficiently to exercise the authority and demonstrate the leadership necessary to address the manifold challenges in these two pivotal departments. The Minister has failed to show any commitment to or action in addressing the delays in the court building programme or failure of Public Works in terms of correctional facilities. The State Attorneys’ Office, the Third Party Fund and the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services require urgent attention. The Bottom Line While the Minister is well-intentioned and clearly committed to delivering on the vision of, at least, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, it is equally evident that he is overburdened and his attention stretched. Looking Ahead The real test for the Minister in his first full year in office ahead will be his handling of the ongoing crisis in the National Prosecuting Authority and the threats against the independence of pivotal criminal justice and constitutional institutions. It is hoped that the Minister will make his own mark on this bloated portfolio going forward. Additionally, Minister Masutha must fully apply himself to concerns raised by Chief Justice, Mogoeng Mogoeng, regarding the financial shortfall that has the ability to undermine the independence of the Office of the Chief Justice. The Public Protector’s office suffers from a 30% budgetary shortfall and its independence is also at stake. These, the DA believes, are Masutha’s greatest obstacles. How he grapples with these issues in the coming future will give us a clear indication of his commitment to restoring our justice system. Grade: 6/10
The Minister of Police: Nkosinathi Nhleko Policy Direction He’s a six-month Minister who has managed, by his absence in Parliament, in the media, in the Police Portfolio Committee, not to put a foot wrong. On the announcement of his appointment the DA feared that he would prove to be yet another glaring example that President Zuma was unwilling to make the hard decisions that are necessary to keep South Africans safe. This new Minister already had a history of abusing his powers to the benefit of President Zuma and his friends, and additionally:
Minister Nhleko, as Regional Commissioner Correction Services KZN, advocated for the parole of President Zuma’s then financial advisor and benefactor, Schabir Shaik on dubious medical grounds. The Minister was then redeployed as a Director-General in the Department of Labour where he was side-lined and an Acting-DG put in his place while an internal investigation was undertaken into tender fraud to the tune of R155-million. Minister Nhleko was promoted to Minister of Police before the outcome of the investigation was made known.
The new Minister’s greatest challenge will be to democratise most of the legislation tabled by the former Minister of Police in 2013 which is largely problematic, and in some instances unconstitutional. A controversial bill yet to be passed is the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) Amendment Bill. Nhleko’s predecessor introduced an unconstitutional and xenophobic version in 2013, which was reworked and accepted by the Portfolio Committee. But at the last minute he forced the reintroduction of an expropriation clause which, if it remains in the Bill when it is passed, will cause massive damage to our ability to attract foreign investment to South Africa. Minister Nhleko must take the Constitutional Court’s ruling on 27 November 2014 a step further and commit fully to the independence of the Directorate of Priority Crime Intelligence (DPCI), “The Hawks” by making the appointment and budget process a function of Parliament and not his Department. Demilitarisation of the South African Police Service (SAPS) as recommended by the National Development Plan (NDP) is a crucial component of his portfolio with which the Minister has to preoccupy himself if soaring police brutality is to be contained. The effects of a remilitarised SAPS are clear when one looks at how the police responded with lethal force to miners at Marikana. The National Key Points Act has, of late, been used to justify the burying of information relating to the exorbitant expenditure of public funds – as has been the case with the over R200 million upgrade of President Jacob Zuma’s private home in Nkandla. This Act should
be the number one order of business in 2014 if he is to restore the credibility of his department and its commitment to fighting corruption. Attendance and Attitude On the plus side, his non-appearances have meant that his chances of making Phiyega-like esque public gaffes have been minimised, but on the other have left the SAPS rudderless. He was clearly panicked when the police first appeared on the Parliamentary precinct threatening to use tear gas to clear the NA chamber. When his police then invaded the NA Chamber earlier in November, he was nowhere to be seen or heard. He admitted to calling in the police on 21 August. He must not make this a habit. We had intended to keep a watchful eye over him, but Minister Nhleko is frankly nowhere to be found. He does, however, answer parliamentary questions quickly and fully – a marked contrast to the sarcastic non-answers provided by his predecessor. Additionally, to his absolute credit, is the fact that he has established a special committee, described as “a reference group”, to investigate National Police Commissioner, Riah Phiyega. He has tasked them to investigate the chaos left by his predecessor, such as:
All the appointments, suspensions and disciplinary and criminal proceedings involving senior management. For example, the issue of the 4 times cleared but suspended again Major-General Johan Booysen as it is very clear that he is being targeted. Alleged involvement of police officers in illegal renditions, problems in crime intelligence, as well as problems the SAPS have faced in its transformation process. Allegations that Phiyega alerted Western Cape Provincial Police Commissioner Arno Lamoer about a probe into his alleged links with drug lords. The NPA decided not to press charges against Phiyega but it was recommended that the SAPS consider an internal investigation. The suspension of the Acting head of CI who ran this case. The suspension of Crime Intelligence Unit boss Richard Mdluli. The Minister’s predecessor made every possible effort to retain him. The downgrading of educational qualifications for provincial heads of CI. He claims he has set up a team to investigate the de-militarisation of the police service as per the dictates of the NDP. He predecessor dodged this issue endlessly.
Certainly the DA doesn’t blame him for the latest bungle of the Crime Statistics release on the 19th September 2014. These, his troublesome NPC claimed, had been audited. No they hadn’t said the AG. Additionally, incorrect stats were released for KZN and Limpopo. While there is no doubt that this ANC Zuma-ite is one of the party-most-faithful, and has been tasked with the unenviable job of determining how much Zuma must pay for his Nkandla upgrades, which the Parliamentary whitewash says he wasn’t responsible for, he has thus far kept his party loyalties to himself.
Administration, Finance and Organisational Skills The Minister’s greatest administrative challenge will continue to be overseeing a National Police Commissioner who, in just two years, has proven to be completely incapable of reforming and managing the SAPS. His first order of business must be to get rid of the current Police Commissioner and formally recommend the President appoint a career police officer with the requisite knowledge and will to improve the SAPS. From her handling of the Marikana massacre, to awarding herself medals she did not earn and allegedly attempting to defeat the ends of justice, Phiyega has proven to be a cancer to the SAPS. Next year’s tabling of the Farlam Commission of Inquiry report, which we suspect is damning to the Commissioner, might just give the Minister and the President the excuse they need to rid South Africa of this destructive incompetence once and for all. Minister Nhleko must fight to ensure that budgetary reprioritisation addresses the resourcing of a SAPS that do not have much of what they need, to discharge their duties and not divert R30 million away from detective services to VIP protection as proposed by this year’s Medium Term Budget Statement (MTBS). The Minister’s response to this proposal by the Minister of Finance will be a test of his political will to reform the SAPS. The new Minister also needs and is able, together with a strong and trusted Police Commissioner, drastically bring down the contingent liability projection which currently sits at an astronomical R21.1 billion. This is almost a full third of his department’s budget. R20.5 billion of this money is ring-fenced for legal action filed against the police for their, often criminal, conduct. The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), particularly under its disgraced Executive Director Robert McBride, must focus its efforts solely on rooting out the 1448 known criminal cops from the SAPS and the thousands that lurk beneath the surface. Minister Nhleko must ensure action from a lacklustre and inactive McBride if there is any hope of restoring South Africa’s faith in the credibility of our police officers who too often turn on the very people they are mandated to protect. The Bottom Line In that he is making the right moves, showing willingness to look at some of the issues we asked him to focus on, and seems likely to rid us of this troublesome National Police Commissioner, we give him 60%. Looking Ahead President Zuma did one good thing by firing the Empty Suit that is Nathi Mthethwa and appointing a man who appears a lot more committed. He must:
Bring crime levels down; Reduce police criminality; Address archaic legislation such as the National Key Points Act; Demilitarise the SAPS; Reject problematic legislation;
Ensure that persons are appointed on merit and experience rather than party allegiance; Hold SAPS members accountable for poor performance and wrongdoing; and Ensure adequate training and resources for SAPS members.
The Minister of Minister of State Security: David Mahlobo Policy Direction The Committee only commenced its work in the last week of August 2014 due to the Security Clearance process for Members joining the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence (JSCI). The Minister is new in this Portfolio and is relatively inexperienced in matters of state intelligence and did inherit unfinished business from his predecessor, Siyabonga Cwele. During the Minister’s Budget Speech, he referred to the direction that his Department will take in outstanding matters including the timeous presentation of the Annual Reports which posed a problem in the past. Mention was also made of the White Paper on Intelligence that is still outstanding and that the matter will be prioritised. Timeous finalisation of the white paper will be crucial to determine the future direction of this department. Attendence and Attitude Since the first meeting of the JSCI was only held in August, the Minister visited the JSCI on two occasions to deal with critical issues in the Department. The Minister reiterated that he has an open door policy and if the opposition members had a need for consultation we would be welcome to schedule a meeting. The Minister attended Parliamentary sittings on a regular basis and attended to oral questions. With regard to written replies it is notable that replies are directed to the JSCI and not to the Member who requested the information. This matter must still be dealt with. Administration, Finance and Organisational Skills The budgetary issues that fall under this portfolio’s ambit are highly classified and therefore not for public consumption. What we do know is that the State Security agency has completely become a state unto itself with a Special Operating Unit (SOU) that appears to be conducting nefarious activity such as the alleged collusion to rig elections in mineral-rich states in Africa and abusing state apparatus to vet ANC candidates at Luthuli House. All this is done without any consultation or oversight from Parliament. The true test for the fairly new SSA boss is to ensure parliamentary oversight over this secretive and clandestine agency in so far as it doesn’t compromise our national security. Vitally, the state security apparatus must be brought into line to defend the country’s national interest, and not be used to settle political scores or to enforce political agendas in the ANC .
The Bottom Line A more detailed report will be prepared after a full calendar year of operation of the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence (JSCI).
Looking Ahead The Minister needs to: Finalise the new White Paper on Intelligence which will set the new policy for the department and indeed for the SSA. It will give a clearer picture as to whether the department will continue to institutionalise a model of increased secrecy and decreased transparency; and
Allow for more transparency of his department through the effective working of the JSCI.
The DA is not hopeful that this Minister will exercise any accountability in this regard because it would appear he reports not to Parliament but to the former Head of Intelligence, now President, Jacob Zuma. In recent times we have seen the President’s contempt for Parliamentary oversight. Minister Mahlobo, even if he wanted to do good, would be hardpressed. Grade: Too early to assess
The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs: Pravin Gordhan Policy Direction Minister Gordhan inherited a mess at local and provincial government level. This is evidenced by the number of municipalities under administration or, more recently, dissolved in terms of section 139(1) of the Constitution. Minister Gordhan has not been reluctant to take action against failing municipalities, although the same cannot be said of provincial administrations. There has, however, been a distinct lack of action on the Traditional Affairs aspect of the Ministry. Issues in this regard relate to initiate deaths, disputes over traditional leadership, the recognition of the Khoi and San, and the role of traditional leadership in a constitutional democracy. Since his appointment in May 2014, Minister Gordhan has initiated the “Back to Basics” programme, an attempt to ensure that municipalities focus on their core competencies. This initiative, while welcome and demonstrating a clear focus on municipal function, is little more than a rehash of earlier programmes such as “Project Consolidate”, the Local Government Turnaround Strategy, the Batho Pele principles, and Operation Clean Audit 2014. Time after time, these programmes have failed to deliver real results, because they do not go to the heart of local governance issues: ANC cadre deployment. The Minister has made all the right noises, but has failed to address the real issue, and as such the ‘Back to Basics’ campaign is very likely to produce the same result as all the previous stunts have in the past. There has been no indication of any policy movement or vision with regard to traditional leadership, apart from some worrying comments within the Portfolio Committee that traditional leaders should be granted more recognition within municipal councils (and in particular, voting rights). Attitude and Attendance The Minister and his deputies have attended a number of portfolio committee meetings and are regularly in attendance in the House. While their response to parliamentary questions has, on the whole, been good in terms of response time, the quality of such responses is often lacking, or handed off to others and passed on uncritically. Overall the Minister is visible, although his attitude towards Parliament and its members occasionally comes across as disdainful. He does not appreciate tough questioning. Administration, Finance and Organisational Skills The Department of Co-operative Governance achieved an unqualified audit, as did all of its reporting entities. The municipal audit outcomes were less spectacular, however. Although there was some improvement on prior years, the fact that more than 50% of municipalities and municipal entities received qualified, adverse or disclaimed audits, or failed to submit their financial statements at all, is of major concern. R11.6 billion was recognised as irregular expenditure by municipalities in the last financial year. In addition, fruitless and wasteful expenditure by municipalities increased by R542
million over the same period. We further noted the dysfunctional top management at the Municipal Demarcation Board, where the CEO was suspended for approximately 9 months, and has now received a golden handshake amounting to several years’ salary in termination. No real reasons have been forthcoming for this, and the Board have not appointed a new CEO. Neither the Minister nor his deputies are particularly good at acknowledging or replying to correspondence with regards to pressing financial matters. The Bottom Line Although Minister Gordhan is held up as the potential saviour of local government (and in particular, the ANC’s prospects ahead of the Local Government Elections in 2016), his early performance in this department has been less than stellar. He has made the right noises, but in many cases, the action taken has been overly harsh (e.g. dissolution of municipal councils, without ever placing them under administration), or he has missed the point by not going after the ANC deployees who are really the problem. The Minister is fortunate to have inherited a fairly well run department, and his attention must be on the municipalities and provinces for which he is accountable. Looking Ahead The Minister and his deputies need to take a more proactive role in ensuring that municipalities, provinces and traditional leaders deliver on their constitutional obligations. In particular, they cannot be seen to support any political faction over another, nor can they allow officials to get away with maladministration and misconduct. Legislation to regulate the implementation of section 139 interventions is apparently nearing finalisation, and should be presented to cabinet imminently. This will go a long way to addressing the shortcomings in the process, and ensure greater objectivity and oversight in the process. This will be dealt with once it is referred to the committee. The Minister must: Clamp down on corruption at local and provincial government level; Address the backlog of forensic reports, audits and investigations, and implement action against those guilty of misconduct/maladministration; Enforce the regulations governing the appointment of municipal managers and other senior managers within municipalities; Stabilise the political environment in dysfunctional municipalities; Tackle the issue of government debt crippling local government; and Table a plan of action to conclusively deal with traditional initiation ceremonies and the resulting health consequences.
The Minister of Health: Dr Aaron Motsoaledi Policy Direction Minister Motsoaledi was not too impressive this year. He has become increasingly political and in doing so his high-level and reach-across-the-aisle style of leadership has weakened. Minister Motsoaledi has made significant advances in tackling critical health problems facing the country, including the fight against HIV/AIDS, communicable and lifestyle diseases. His approach to preparing the country against an Ebola outbreak has been commendable. We welcome Minister Motsoaledi’s announcement that an advisory Ministerial Committee on Ebola will assist him to contain the risks of this devastating disease. Minister Motsoaledi has vigorously driven policy implementation in his department, but there is room for improvement. The National Health Insurance (NHI) White Paper has still not been released. He actively drove the NHI policy process. The NHI concept seems to have lost steam altogether, leaving significant uncertainty about this major public policy question. Minister Motsoaldi has been very enthusiastic about the Cuba-South Africa Medical Exchange programme which in fact does not work very well, is misdirected and prevents our medical institutions from benefiting from a US$70m investment. He also did not pursue a recalibrated programme using our medical schools. Medical staffing shortages persist in the public sector which directly affects the level of care received by patients. Sending students to Cuba is not going to resolve this problem. However, we commended the Minister for his response and openness to debate the Certificate of Need objections following his amendments to the National Health Act of 2003. The most important challenge is to define a vision for better health care in the future, and an implementable plan to get there. With the NHI programme losing steam, it is unclear what the future policy direction of the Health department is. Attendance and Attitude Minister Motsoaledi has not attended parliamentary sittings as regularly this year, nor has he been in regular attendance of Portfolio Committee meetings. He has responded to parliamentary questions satisfactorily and timeously. Minister Motsoaledi’s attitude towards a possible Ebola outbreak in the country has been highly contentious and mostly political. He has not taken well to the DA’s numerous questions on Ebola and the country’s preparedness to manage a potential outbreak. Minister Motsoaledi has shown that he is respectful, open and accountable to Parliament for the most part.
Administration, Finance and Organisational Skills There has been a number of administrative bungles in the Health department this year. The department dropped the ball on the tender process for medicine distribution. This has lead to stock outs of essential medicines countrywide. He has failed to call the Provincial MEC’s for Health in ANC-run departments to account for the fruitless and wasteful expenditure and non-delivery of critical services in their respective departments. Minister Motsoaledi has to date not tabled a plan to fix the dire financial situation at the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS) and important subsidiaries, like NICD. This has an impact on some of its bodies The Bottom Line While our healthcare system is plagued by many problems, from poor infrastructure to a lack of resources and medical staff, the Minister has shown himself to be firmly committed towards tackling these challenges. The journey to tackle the plethora of health challenges remains long, particularly in public hospitals. Minister Motsoaledi must give us certainty on the future policy direction of the department, and must improve the administration of the department’s tender process. The bungling of the medicine supply tender has caused significant chaos across the country. Looking Ahead While the Minister has made some positive strides, the problems of 2014 persist and needs to be urgently addressed in 2015, including: • • • • • • •
Poor infrastructure and under-resourced health facilities remain a problem; Improving mental healthcare and treatment in public healthcare facilities; Improving maternal healthcare; Implementing proper monitoring systems for grants; The dire shortage of health professionals; National Health Department must assist provinces with NHI business plans, implementation and the monitoring thereof; and Ensuring South Africa remains Ebola free.
The Minister of Human Settlements: Lindiwe Sisulu Policy Direction Minister Sisulu has used her department to settle political scores, as opposed to implementing the right policies to create enough Housing opportunities for people. She spends far too much time playing politics, and not enough time providing Housing for South Africans, as was obvious from her approach to the Lwandle evictions. It remains an open question why Minister Sisulu was so energetic about pursuing SANRAL’s eviction in the Western Cape, and not the number of other, far more egregious evictions, in other provinces. The policies she is employing are old, but mostly commendable. The process of developing the Green Paper for Human Settlements is now underway. The intentions of the Green Paper are not vastly different from the current DA policy on Human settlements. There have however been a number of problematic policy statements by the Minister throughout the year, especially her pronouncements that she wants to introduce a policy that will ensure that in cases of divorce only the woman will take over the house and the man has to “get out”. This is clearly unconstitutional, and should rather be decided on a case-by-case basis in the courts. Her statements about young people not receiving any houses were also problematic, as she did not spell out any alternatives for young people, as is plainly required. Attendance and Attitude The Minister has been attending portfolio committee meetings whenever she has been invited. During meetings she has answered all questions directed to her and the department. Minister Sisulu has attended all oral questions sessions and she attends most parliamentary sessions even when there are no Human settlements items on the order paper. The department’s response to written questions has been satisfactory but not timeous. She is generally responsive to Parliament and open to oversight, with the obvious exception of her luxury flights during her time as Defence Minister, which remain a closely-guarded secret. Administration, Finance and Organisational Skills Minister Sisulu has been sluggish in addressing challenges facing her department and its entities. Nothing has been done on Limpopo province’s underspending of the Human Settlements development grant (HSDG). The department has already stopped the transfer of R500 million to this province. The Minister’s handling of the transfer of Municipal Capacity Grant transfer to six metropolitan municipalities has also been unsatisfactory.
Minister Sisulu has been silent on the SIU investigation into 59 fraudulent housing projects worth R20 billion and we patiently await the release of the full SIU report. The Bottom Line Minister Sisulu is using her very important department to settle political scores. This is a very worrying trend, as she should be focusing solely on delivery. She furthermore needs to improve the functioning of her department and the financial management of housing projects in general. Minister Sisulu has been excellent at making big pronouncements and getting good media coverage for them, but has not yet made significant strides in delivery. Looking Ahead Minister Sisulu must address the following:
Focus her attention on turning around the current rectification backlog and exorbitant budget which is clear evidence that the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) is still an ineffective entity. Urgently address the matter of holding contractors and even departmental officials accountable by recouping funds, laying criminal charges, blacklisting, and making them pay for rectification for shoddily built housing units. Place underperforming Provincial departments under administration, should they fail to adequately address housing delivery. Expedite the processing of the major title-deeds backlog.
The Minister of Water and Sanitation: Nomvula Mokonyane Policy Direction The Ministry for Water and Sanitation is a new department with Sanitation migrated from the Department of Human Settlements. Minister Mokonyane has had a terrible start to her new role as Minister - dodging critical questions about her department and denying many of the failures of her department, including the water crisis in Gauteng earlier this year. The Minister’s policy direction seems slapdash and has only been communicated to the members of the portfolio committee via her Budget Speech. Minister Mokonyane has still not tabled her department’s vision, direction and strategic plan before the Portfolio Committee. The migration of the sanitation mandate from the Department of Human Settlements has also still not been finalised. Attitude and Attendance Minister Mokonyane has not once attended Portfolio Committee Meetings despite being invited by the Committee on numerous occasions. She infrequently attends National Assembly sittings. The Minister’s absence from Portfolio Committee meetings is a clear indication of her aversion to accountability. Minister Mokonyane has been in denial about the challenges her department faces. Earlier this year, she tried to find every possible excuse to deny responsibility for the Rand Water/ Gauteng Water Crisis, whilst she should have taken responsibility and worked towards a solution. Minister Mokonyane turned a blind eye to the Madibeng Water Report which highlights significant skills shortages, infrastructure upgrade backlogs and that a water crisis was imminent nationally. Administration, Finance and Organisational Skills Her significant absence from the Portfolio Committee makes it extremely difficult to have her account for what exactly her financial vision is for the department. The Auditor General’s findings on the Department’s Annual Report for 2013/14 were not received well. Her department recorded R 172.4 million in irregular expenditure for the department. This included 151 instances of irregular expenditure. An additional R748.6 million was spent on irregular expenditure in the department’s Water Trading Entity. Taken together, that means that the department irregularly spent R921 million. Water Use Licences for Mines in the Country have to date not been up to speed. Minister Mokonyane issued a statement in September this year, promising that all mines (104) will be issued with Water Use Licences by the 1st November 2014. This date has passed and according to the Director General of her department she failed to deliver and broke her
promise. The Bottom Line Minister Mokonyane is in denial about the growing water crisis across the country. She did not respond to our call for an inter-ministerial task team on water provision after a DA investigation found e-coli in the water supply of a number of towns across South Africa. She has also not attended to the billions being lost in water leakages and the growing crisis of collapsing water infrastructure at municipal level. Minister Mokonyane is still trying to ‘tell a good story’ when she should instead be focusing on tackling issues head-on. Looking Ahead The Minister must:
Present a detailed, enforceable action plan before the Portfolio Committee. Urgently address the number of Water Use Licences still outstanding, as many mines operate illegally without any action taken against their non-compliance. Ensure the successful migration of Sanitation from the Department of Human Settlements. Turn the financial situation in her department around, by providing decisive leadership and implementing recommendations made to her by the Auditor General.
The Minister of Home Affairs: Malusi Gigaba Policy Direction Minister Gigaba’s aspiration is to transform the Department into a more effective, paperless and modern institution. This focus is commendable as it will make the Department far more efficient. However, the Minister has made two massive errors early in his tenure: Firstly, the implementation of biometric visas has been hugely destructive to South African tourism and to businesses that aim to trade internationally. Secondly, the Minister has allowed the chaos at the Lindela Repatriation Centre to continue, opening up the department to numerous lawsuits from refugees and asylum seekers who are represented by human rights groups. There are also still major challenges with turnaround times for IDs and other basic services offered by the Department. His overarching objective is good, but there are serious challenges with implementation. This is coupled with an extremely serious policy error on biometric visas that undermine the Minister’s general success in the department. Attendance and Attitude The Minister has been fairly accommodating in listening to the DA's views regarding developments in the Department. He has not been dismissive of our contributions in discussions relating to the role of the Department. However, the Minister has appeared only twice before the Portfolio Committee. As a result, he has been left completely in the dark with the issues most pertinent to his Department. This is putting him in a precarious position when faced with the issues discussed in Committee meetings. His attendances in the House, and the quality of the replies, have been satisfactory. There remains room for improvement, however. Minister Gigaba’s attitude to the human rights violations at Lindela Repatriation Centre, where illegal immigrants are detained, was highly disappointing and exposed his failure to lead on a difficult issue. He chose a defensive approach instead of giving clarity on the issue, which could have allayed anxieties a great deal sooner. Admin, Finance and Organisational Skills The financial performance of the Department has been dismal. A new Chief Financial Officer has recently been appointed and this may have a positive result. The audit opinion, which was a disclaimer, is however considered to be the worst in the last few years. The Bottom Line The Minister has been largely involved in damage control over his recently introduced immigration regulations. Although he has listened to our suggestions and made some concessions, he has failed to adhere to the main concerns that will have an impact on tourism and job creation. He has not addressed the massive problems in the immigration unit of his Department which deals largely with visas, refugees, asylum seekers, illegal immigrants and border control.
There is little evidence to suggest that he is taking these matters seriously and he turns a blind eye to this unit. A recent court ruling found that there have been a large number of human rights abuses at the Lindela. The Minister has failed to adequately address the issues at this centre although he has been aware of the problems there for several months. Minister Gigaba has potential, but he has to fix the chaos at Lindela and change course on biometric visas before he gets a passing grade.
The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation: Maite Nkoane-Mashabane Policy Direction There is no policy coherence and clarity regarding South Africa’s foreign policy. The Minister is reluctant to address human rights issues. While South Africa should be loud and proud on the international stage to defend human rights across the world, we have allowed our relationship with China in particular to trump our commitment to human rights. This has significantly bruised South Africa’s standing on the world stage. Where we were once unequivocal voices for peace and democracy, we now toe the line Beijing dictates. The most obvious example is South Africa’s shocking refusal to give the Dalai Lama a visa. Since assuming her role, the Department has been in limbo in terms of defining a vision. The current discussions on The White Paper on South Africa’s Foreign Policy are problematic as they do not offer a clear commitment to a human rights-based foreign policy as previously committed to by our government. South Africa’s diplomatic stance on socio-economic and political developments in neighbouring countries is ambiguous. The Minister has shied away from taking a position regarding developments particularly in Burkina Faso and Zimbabwe. Attendance and Attitude The Minister did not appear before the Committee since the start of the Fifth Parliament. There are issues with governance and accountability regarding the African Renaissance Fund (ARF), which is managed by the Director-General of the Department, yet she has not been here to answer questions. The Minister did not appear for oral questions. The content of written replies to parliamentary questions also lacked detail. Admin, Finance and Organisational Skills With a R5.1 billion budget, the Department received a qualified audit with adverse findings. The Auditor General indicated an inability on the part of the Department to record its assets successfully. The Director-General managed the administration of the ARF where serious issues of accountability and oversight of the projects funded have come to light. To date this issue is not yet dealt with by the Minister; instead, she has announced that the ARF will be replaced by another fund. The Bottom Line South Africa is placed strategically at the Chair of the SADC troika on Peace, Defence and Politics, as the African Union Commission Chair, and member of ECOWAS. However, we are consistently unable and unwilling to articulate a clear human rights-based foreign policy, as the ANC has been willing to compromise on these values to build relationships with countries who do not respect the rights of all of their citizens.
The Minister in the Presidency: Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation: Jeff Radebe Policy Direction Given the brief period that Minister Radebe has been in this portfolio, it is not quite clear where he will take the Department. What is clear is that he would like to increase the budget and staff of the Department quite significantly and rapidly. He has asked the National Treasury for an increase from approximately R300 million to more than R1 billion over the next three years. The Presidency sits at the apex of government as it is responsible for policy coherence. As such, Minister Radebe is President Zuma’s point man on the National Development Plan (NDP). Yet two years after the NDP was adopted by Cabinet and Parliament, and six months into his new role, there is little evidence of the Minister’s efforts in championing its implementation. Attendance and Attitude As far as Parliament is concerned, Minister Radebe got the year off to an inauspicious start, failing to present himself at the first meeting of the Portfolio Committee that deals with his Department. His attendance in the National Assembly is sporadic, and his answers to Parliamentary questions are hardly a model of comprehensiveness and transparency. Admin, Finance and Organisational Skills The Department seems well managed and has received an unqualified audit opinion from the Auditor General for the 2013/14 financial year. The Minister is responsible for ensuring that the relevant actions and targets in the Medium Term Strategic Framework are reflected in the performance agreements of Ministers. Yet, six months after the Cabinet was appointed, performance agreements between the President and Ministers have still not been finalised. The Bottom Line The Minister has yet to prove himself in his new portfolio but he has been preoccupied as President Zuma’s “go to” man. The Minister is the point man on the Inter Ministerial Committee on Distressed Mining Towns, and Operation Phakisa, recently initiated Presidential Projects, and the Inter Ministerial Committee on Information and Publicity. He has become an increasingly important player, being constantly used by President Zuma to diffuse difficult situations. His role has seemingly become extremely political, and it is not clear how much time he spends on his portfolio. He was also deployed to various envoys in recent months, which has simply stretched him too thin. Looking Ahead During the State of the Nation debate, Minister Radebe said that capacity was being created in the Presidency to carry out thorough socio-economic impact assessments of both new and existing legislation and regulation. This is aiming to ensure the alignment with the NDP and reduce the risk of unintended consequences. Yet, just two weeks later, President Zuma assented to the Property Valuation Bill and the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill. Both of these laws contradict the NDP.
Part of the problem is that, faced with vigorous opposition from alliances with Cosatu and the SACP, Minister Radebe has not been very clear about making the NDP the government’s overriding policy blueprint. Instead, he has taken to talking about “the second phase” of a transition to the “national democratic society”, which does not represent a clear endorsement of the NDP. We support the vigorous assessment of existing and new legislation, but this does not need a billion rand department in the Presidency. It can easily be outsourced to experts and academic institutions to do so independently. The DA is concerned that this new governmental regulatory impact assessment service in the Presidency, will not produce wholly independent studies and will not carry the necessary credibility. The Minister should instead focus on demanding real implementation plans from government departments on how they plan to operationalise the NDP in their various spheres. These have not yet been forthcoming and until they are, Minister Radebe will continue to score poor grades. Grade: 5/10
The Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services: Siyabonga Cwele Policy Direction It is difficult to discern Minister Cwele’s grasp of policy as he has not made any bold moves to date. In his July Budget speech, Minister Cwele made a number of commitments – none of which have been realised. The biggest challenge facing the Minister is the battle for control between his department and the Communications Minister Faith Muthambi. Minister Muthambi has turned into a tenacious foe as she halted the release of the longoverdue revised digital broadcasting migration (DBM) policy that she promised to release by end of July 2014. It still has not seen the light of day. Minister Cwele also promised to set a date for the digital broadcast “switch on” by the end of October. He failed to meet this deadline because the DBM policy has not been approved by Cabinet. He also promised to instruct ICASA to draft regulations of ICT facilities sharing by the end of October, finalise a strategy into open-access networks, and by year-end, regulations on pricing transparency and premium content for broadcasters. The establishment of a Cyber Security hub was to be announced by year-end. We are still waiting. Former Minister of Communications Yunus Carrim lit fires under the management of the former Communications Department – most of whom are now in DTPS – to get policy moving. Much of what has popped out of the Department this year, such as the recently released ICT Policy Review’s Options Paper, are therefore the natural outcome of a process Former Minister Carrim drove, rather than a testimony to Minister Cwele’s approach to the job. Minister Cwele seems to be standing in the shadows, waiting for someone to take a firm line with Minister Muthambi so he can get on with his job. Attitude and Attendance Minister Cwele has made occasional – if brief – appearances before the Portfolio Committee. His early speeches were re-runs of those of his predecessor and he tends to be cautious on public platforms by saying nothing fresh or inspiring. He seems to be treading water and doing the basics without expressing any determination to innovate. His handling of the South African Post Office crisis was lacklustre. With an eye firmly on the digital economy, one would imagine that he would regard a strike with some concern. Instead, he did nothing as the organisation slid into an abyss of mismanagement, denial and a singular failure to communicate with any stakeholders - including a helpless public - as the entire network of the nation’s postal monopoly ground to a shuddering halt. A full six months after assuming office, Minister Cwele forced the entire Board out and placed the entity under administration. With the Board having resigned recently and the strike
coming to an end, it will be interesting to see how Minister Cwele will avoid a repeat of the devastating strike. Administration, Finance and Organisational Skills Minister Cwele’s approach seems to be more understated and conciliatory. He saw no need to treat as urgent the untangling of the mess created by the split of the former Department, almost shrugging his shoulders that getting this all sorted out may take three years. The sector – and the economic and social development opportunities it supports – will suffer greatly from this laid-back attitude. The Bottom Line Minister Cwele has yet to show any in-depth understanding of the state of South Africa’s ICT sector, or comprehension of the urgency to get policy moving. There are no signs that he is the Minister of Telecommunications that South Africa so desperately needs.
Looking Ahead Minister Cwele needs to be more assertive and courageous in working with the laws and strategic direction he has been bequeathed. This is the leadership that is required to catapult South Africa’s electronic communications future to a successful story. If he waits for a presidential compromise in the turf war with Minister Muthambi in the interests of ANC-collectivism, he will fail to give South Africa the ICT environment it needs. Grade: 4/10
The Minister of Public Works: Thulas Nxesi Policy Direction The Ministry introduced a turnaround strategy at the beginning of 2012, aimed at ensuring stabilisation of the Department, working towards a clean audit, completing a skills audit to determine the gaps in the Department, and repositioning the Department to fulfil its core mandate. However, the Department’s annual report this year shows a failure in attaining all of its targets in almost all of its programmes. There are various problems at Public Works. The Immovable Asset Register is a crucial tool in determining the property portfolio of government, and yet this has not been completed, meaning that the Department does not have a complete inventory of public properties which it manages on behalf of South African taxpayers. The EPWP programme is intended to create work opportunities for millions of South Africans in an effort to reduce poverty and unemployment. The Department provides transfers and subsidies to provinces and municipalities for payment of conditional grants for the implementation of the EPWP programme. However, due to a lack of monitoring and evaluation capacity in the Department, it found it difficult to determine who really benefited from these programmes. Public Works must channel resources to those areas where infrastructure will facilitate rapid economic growth. There is no sense that EPWP is currently being implemented in a quantifiable and scientific way. Minister Nxesi has also been severely compromised by the Nkandla scandal, which his department is deeply involved in. It must be resolved, so that Public Works can again start focusing primarily on building infrastructure where it is most needed. Attendance and Attitude The Minister has attended a number of meetings of the Portfolio Committee, including to present his annual report, along with his Deputy Minister. He has also availed himself to answer questions in Parliament. Minister Nxesi has candidly expressed his concerns regarding the poor state of the Department upon his arrival, even going as far as requesting that the Department by placed under administration. Being in charge of property and resources that are easy to loot and misuse, as well as being responsible for the accommodation of cabinet ministers, Minister Nxesi has been transparent on the mammoth task he has been allocated at the Department. However, the Minister fails to be honest on the public funds that have been utilised for the Nkandla homestead, which takes away from his ability to account. Overall, the minister has been visible and respectful of Parliament.
Administration, Finance and Organisational Skills The Department still has unfilled senior positions such as Director in the Director-general’s office, Chief Director for Legal Services and Chief Director for Monitoring and Evaluation. The department has a total of 7043 posts of which 5710 were filled. The number of vacancies in the Department stood at 1333, most of which were in critical occupations such as architects, town and urban planners, civil engineers, and related professions. The Bottom Line The Minister was the main cheerleader and defender of President Jacob Zuma throughout this period over the Nkandla scandal. Apart from heading the Inter-Ministerial Committee that produced a whitewash report on the scandal, he also tried to mislead parliament by declaring the report classified, thereby denying members the right to interrogate the report. Looking Ahead The Department will continue to be associated with the Nkandla scandal for a long time to come since it is the principal agent of government that was directly involved in the supervision, procurement and management of the construction of President Zuma’s private home. That image will be difficult to shake off.
The Minister of Transport: Dipuo Peters Policy Direction Minister Peters’ vision remains unclear. This is evidenced by her avoidance to our questions, both in Parliament and outside Parliament, on whether she will take into consideration the recommendations that will come out of the Gauteng Makhura panel on the economic impact of e-tolls. The Minister continues to flip-flop on this issue as she attempts to please all factions within her party whilst also remaining loyal and deferential to the President Jacob Zuma. There are other uncertainties too. After some five years, the National Transport Master Plan (Natmap) is still outstanding after Minister Peters called for industry input in October 2013. Under Minister Peters’ direction, new life has been injected into the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) which was to be shut down during Minister Ben Martins’ tenure. The objective in this regard remains unclear. Most of the other entities in the Department continue to suffer under the lack of experience and expertise. This is having a negative impact on the performance that the Department and its entities are mandated to fulfil. It is unclear what Minister Peters plans to do to deliver on the mandate of her department to provide more transport options to South Africans. Attendance and Attitude Although the Minister and her Deputy, Lydia Sindisiwe Chikunga, attended the first Portfolio Committee Meeting at the beginning of the term of this Parliament, she has never returned to meet with the Portfolio Committee despite promising to do so. The Minister’s attendance in Parliament has been poor while her Deputy has had to deal with question time in the House. Administration, Finance and Organisational Skills Most entities continue to underperform against their own targets which in some cases are very low to begin with. The Minister’s worst failure is her to inability to stem the tide of road fatalities and deaths on South Africa’s roads. An average of 14 000 people lose their lives on our roads annually despite targets at reducing these horrific numbers. None of the targets set were achieved except in the Western Cape, which managed to achieve a 31% decrease since 2009 through the only road safety campaign in the country, “Safely Home”. The Bottom Line Minister Peters is simply generally unavailable. This trend appears to be becoming worse as her Department’s Annual Performance Plan indicates that spending on travel and subsistence by the Minister is expected to increase to R31.8 million in the 2016/17 financial year. The mind boggles as to why the Minister would need to travel at such a great cost considering the pressing issues she must attend to right here at home. Her unwavering support of e-tolls is clearly going against the will of the people of Gauteng as they continue to protest against this system by not paying for it. Unless she starts listening to
the citizens and businesses of Gauteng she may well be setting herself up for an even greater crisis. She needs to prioritise the road maintenance and underinvestment backlog of the nearly 750 000 kilometres of road network. The current pace at which this is taking place is simply inadequate. The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM) Integrated Public Transport System (IPTS) continues to suffer delays and endless wasteful expenditure whilst the Minister sits on her hands. Looking Ahead Minister Peters must prioritise the following: Ending e-tolling once and for all, by bringing the recommendations of the Makhura e-toll panel to Parliament. Implementing a turnaround strategy for entities under her leadership. Taking steps to reduce the deaths on our roads. Increasing the pace of the road maintenance plans. Increasing our railway capacity to take heavy freight trucks of our roads. Grade: 3/10
The Minister of Communications: Faith Muthambi Policy Direction The newly created “Department of Propaganda” was always going to be in the spotlight. But nobody could have predicted just how much. Since her appointment to the Cabinet in May, Minister Muthambi has managed to make a real name for herself – for all the wrong reasons. Muthambi’s first blunder as Minister of this department was to announce a state communications Task Team stacked with Zuma loyalists such as Jimmy Manyi, Vusi Mona and Hlaudi Motsoeneng. This did nothing to dispel the perception that she was creating a propaganda machine for the embattled President. Attendance and Attitude Minister Muthambi has little or no regard for the constitutionally enshrined independence of the SABC. This much was clear when, shortly after assuming office, she announced that she wants to take away Parliament’s power to recommend the appointment of SABC Board Members and give it to herself. The Minister has no qualms about interfering in other entities as well. It emerged in October that she had sent a letter to ICASA councillors giving them a month to vacate their offices, in contravention of the ICASA Act which gives the Minister no such authority. Administration, Finance and Organisational Skills Shortly after her appointment, the DA welcomed the Minister's promise that a new SABC Chief Executive Officer would be in place within three months. That was on 24 June 2014. Six months and seven days have passed and there is still no permanent CEO at the SABC as it lurches from one crisis to the next. Strangely, Minister Muthambi wasted no time in appointing a permanent Chief Operating Officer at the SABC. So committed was she to this particular task that she personally went to the SABC’s offices on the evening of 08 July 2014 to ensure that the Board recommended her favoured candidate, a certain Hlaudi Motsoeneng. The Minister duly made the appointment the next morning. In appointing Motsoeneng, the Minister ignored the Public Protector’s report of February 2014 which found that Motsoeneng had, amongst other things, lied about having a matric and abused his power by increasing his own salary from R 1.5 million to R 2.4 million in one year. The inescapable conclusion is that Minister Muthambi is protecting and promoting Motsoeneng because of his loyalty to President Zuma. It certainly can’t be because of his track record at the SABC, which includes incurring R 3,4 billion in irregular expenditure during his tenure as Acting COO. The Bottom Line Minister Muthambi’s performance appears to have already upset many in her own party. It is known that Luthuli House was furious when she appointed Motsoeneng without consulting them. Her turf war with Telecommunications Minister Siyabonga Cwele over who gets to control digital terrestrial television is also unlikely to have helped her cause.
Embarrassingly, Minister Muthambi was unceremoniously dumped as the spokesperson for Cabinet after three months in the job. This was after being sent on media training courses (at a cool R 12,000 a session). Looking Ahead Perhaps Minister Muthambi’s ineptitude might be the one thing that stands in the way of the ANC effectively controlling the government’s communication apparatus. As one ANC Minister said of Muthambi’s performance: “We wanted a propaganda machinery but we are sabotaging it…” Grade: 1/10
The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries: Senzeni Zokwana Policy Direction It is going to take a Herculean effort to oversee and move forward a department so riddled with corruption (Fisheries), maladministration (NCERA) and mismanagement (Frapp 2013). On paper the policy direction looks good but in practice very little happens. Most policies have been in place for longer than three years but implementation is forever problematic. Of particular concern is the small-scale fisheries policy which is lauded as the best opportunity to end the abject poverty experienced by communities up and down our coastline. The Fetsa Tlala food security programme has had three name changes in three years but no proper plans of implementation are yet in place, and it seems that the programme is being used as a tool by the ANC for electioneering purposes. Attitude and Attendance The Minister is accommodating and friendly with a willingness to address problems and answer questions both in Committee and on occasion in Parliament. There is no problem with his attitude or with his attendance in general but he could attend Parliament more often. It is however problematic that the Minister did not attend the Committee meetings when discussing the annual report of the Department and the entities as his perspective and contribution in this regard would have been welcome. Administration, Finance and Organisational Skills It is not yet clear how well minister Zokwana will perform in this aspect of his job. I wrote a letter regarding the non-availabilities of vaccines to the Minister and have not even received a letter of acknowledgement. The Auditor General did indicate that the Minister was trying to put plans in place to ensure better recordkeeping and financial management, as her predecessor, Tina Joemat-Pettersson has been found guilty of serious mismanagement and misconduct by the Public Protector in the past. The Bottom Line The Minister is giving the correct policy directives and largely desists from "playing politics" with his department. More can be done however to improve the management of his department. He should invest much more time to meet with commodity groups to understand the technical nature of his department. Many of the problems facing the sector are technical in nature and need stronger leadership. For example the Minister wrote in an answer to Parliamentary question that the nonavailability of vaccines will have no influence on the sector and this is intrinsically untrue and naïve. There is hope that the Minister will be open to more input from agricultural experts in future. Grade: 5/10
The Minister of Energy: Tina Joemat-Pettersson Policy Direction Tina Joemat-Pettersson has already, just like during her disastrous tenure at the department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, embroiled her department in a major scandal. She has been at the center of the unfolding Russian nuclear deal, reportedly coming with a R1 trillion price tag. It is truly worrying that Minister Joemat-Pettersson is involved in a deal of this magnitude, with no proper public procurement process being put in place, and with the latest energy plans questioning the financial feasibility of the nuclear programme. This is a major unfolding scandal with possible dire implications for economy, and the DA will therefore continue to monitor it and to push for transparency. But there are many other problems in this department. The Gas Utilisation Master Plan (GUMP) is once again delayed thereby not allowing for investments in this sector to take place. The Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) has not been revised according to the recommendations of the IRP update. The procurement programme for both base load and cogeneration has still not proceeded despite the fact that these projects could bring more electrons on to the grid in the short term. No legislation has come to start the much-needed process of institutional reform such as the Electricity Regulation Act (ERA), National Energy Regulator Act (NERA) and the Independent System and Market Operator (ISMO) Bill. The Solar Water Heater programme has also been stalled for over a year while it has been redesigned. Unfortunately its redesign simply reinforces the major shortfalls of the previous programme. The one success of our Energy Department, namely the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme (REIPPP) has now been put in jeopardy by delays in both bringing financial close to the round 3 projects and the opening of the round 4 bid window. Once again, solutions that can actually alleviate our present energy crisis are being stalled by the Energy Minister. The only policy decision which seems to be pushed with any kind of urgency is that of the nuclear procurement process, which is deeply problematic. Attendance and Attitude Initially Minister Joemat-Pettersson’s attitude was quite open. She has attended the Portfolio Committee twice in the past six months but she has been notably absent since the signing of the nuclear agreement with Russia. Her presence a week and a half ago was the first time she has been in Parliament since that signing. The Minister has also purposefully misled Parliament on the appointment of the chairperson of PetroSA. The appointment has since been reversed. The DA will push for a Parliamentary inquiry into the Minister’s behaviour during Parliament’s next term.
Administration, Finance and Organisational Skills The department is relatively well-run, with no major problems found by the auditor-general. The same cannot however be said for some of the entities such as PetroSA which had irregular expenditure amounting to R1.6 billion. It is the responsibility of the Minister to ensure that all entities under her purview are performing in an efficient and correct manner so as to attain their mandate. The Bottom Line The Minister has proven wholly incapable of instituting the reforms necessary to resolve our electricity crisis and has as expected, proven to be a helpful ally for President Zuma to press ahead with his nuclear programme with Russia. The Minister must urgently focus on fast-tracking those policies and legislation that can resolve our present energy crisis, rather than single-mindedly pursuing the nuclear programme. Until the Minister shows some far reaching vision and the political will to implement muchneeded reforms, she will not succeed in this role. Grade: 1/10
The Minister of Environmental Affairs: Edna Molewa Policy Direction Minister Molewa became the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs of South Africa on 31 October 2010, as part of a cabinet reshuffle by President Jacob Zuma. On May 25 2014, her Ministry was split and she was appointed Minister of Environmental Affairs. She replaced her predecessor, Buyelwa Sonjica. The Environment Affairs Minister has done fairly well ensuring that the department is effective in fulfilling its constitutional mandate. The department has ensured that it spends its allocated budget. In line with the oversight responsibility, the department has oversight of four entities, namely: a. b. c. d.
South African National Parks - SANParks South African Weather Services - SAWS South African national Biodersity Institute -SANBI iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority
The quality of financial statements submitted for audit regressed at SANParks which resulted in that entity being judged as non – compliant. This has a negative bearing in the scoring of Minister Molewa’s performance. The mass vacancies in key positions within the department are also a cause of great concern. Attitude and Attendance Minister Molewa answered parliamentary written questions well, although there are still outstanding replies on many issues such as Rhino Poaching and the government’s stance in relation to it and the failure to minimize air pollution. The Minister also answered the oral questions posed to her in the House but her responses were not straight to the point and seemed to want to remove attention from the real issues. Minister Molewa’s attendance of the portfolio committees’ meetings and oversights visits has been very impressive. Administration, Finance and Organisational Skills The department’s 2012/13 annual reports revealed that critical top management positions were vacant. There were also concerns from the Auditor General on vacant key positions within the department that must be filled. There is a lack of expertise and necessary knowledge within the department and the Auditor General suggested the formation of regular capacity building programmes in order to capacitate personnel with necessary skills. The Auditor General picked up on the lack of skilled personnel due to the inconsistencies contained in supporting documents provided by the department.
The department’s spending of the budget for the year under review was 99.99% however, which is excellent. There was R26 million of Wasteful and Fruitless Expenditure uncovered during the forensic investigation by Detoilette and Touche that was initiated by the department. This was directly caused by the fact that the Department had no Risk Management Strategy in place. I will be watching updates on this issue closely during the next Parliamentary term. The Bottom Line Minister Molewa is getting the job done slowly, but she needs to fill the vacancies in her department, and address some of the larger long-term issues in her department, such as largescale water pollution and the poaching of South Africa’s rhinos. Grade: 6/10
The Minister of Mineral Resource: Ngoako Ramathlodi Policy Direction The Minister arrived on 26 May 2014 with an unpromising pedigree, having previously been Premier of Limpopo, one of South Africa’s worst-run provinces. Despite this, he has made some encouraging moves in the right direction with regard to policy and has performed better in Parliament than his predecessor, Minister Susan Shabangu. The Minister is at a crossroads in relation to the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill that was passed in the dying hours of the Fourth Parliament. In one of his most promising acts yet, Minister Ramatlhodi asked President Zuma not to sign the bill while he looked it over. At the same time he admitted the bill was lacking, particularly with regard to the position of the nascent oil and gas industry. The Minister expressed tentative support for oil and gas to be governed by different legislation. This was a suggestion strongly supported by the DA when the bill originally passed through the Portfolio Committee. The problematic issue is that this process has dragged on for 7 months. The DA has heard from individuals within the mining industry that the uncertainty is driving away investment. A number of things can now happen:
The Minister could advise the President to sign the bill as is. This would be disastrous for the mining and energy industries.
The Minister could suggest the bill be returned to Parliament to make changes to the provisions governing oil and gas that will allow for more foreign direct investment.
The Minister could suggest the bill be returned to Parliament to remove oil and gas and place them under separate legislation. This would be ideal, but would take several months. While this process took place, the industry would remain in a state of uncertainty, which would continue to discourage investment.
The Minister could suggest the bill be returned to parliament and allows ideologues in his own party to change the bill so that conditions actually become worse for mining.
What the Minister decides will be vital for the mining industry and will determine whether South Africa’s oil and gas industry ever gets off the ground. Attitude and Attendance The Minister did not attend his oral questions session Parliament, leaving his deputy to answer questions. That said, the Minister has attended a meeting of the Portfolio Committee, and answered some questions. That was a visit Minister Shabangu never made. Parliamentary written questions are answered reasonably promptly, with some exceptions, and the majority of the answers are serious attempts to provide some information.
Administration, Finance and Organisational Skills The Department of Mineral Resources achieved an unqualified audit, although there was a slight slipping of some of the audit results for entities. There are however indications that the mining licensing system, one of the most important functions of the department, operates poorly. A prime example of this was the granting of exploration rights to a single mineral deposit to both a foreign based company and a company co-owned by the South African state in the Northern Cape. The Bottom Line In a sense it is too early to rate the Minister as his value will depend on how he plays the hand he has been dealt. He does need to act fast though. The dilemma over what has to be done has dragged on for long enough and soon not being able to give an answer will in itself become an answer, and it won’t be a good one. If he chooses to deal with the legislation in a way that encourages investment and jobs he will deserve an A when he is assessed next year. If, however he prevaricates or chooses laws that advantage the kleptocracy and disadvantage industry and jobs, he will fail. Grade: 5/10
The Minister of Public Enterprise: Lynne Brown Policy Direction The Public Enterprises are at a crossroads. A number of them have become heavy burdens on the state’s fiscus, requiring billions in bailouts every few years. Eskom and SAA in particular have become massively problematic. Eskom’s infrastructure and profitability is collapsing, and the country’s electricity grid is at breaking point. SAA’s leadership has been in chaos for months now, and it is unclear whether Minister Brown has the clout to resolve the leadership impasse at SAA. The greatest policy challenge is how to deal with an essentially bankrupt SAA and Eskom. The DA has long articulated that partial privatisation is the only way to keep these services running in a cost-effective manner. Minister Brown and the ANC government are going to have to decide one way or another, given that these entities simply cannot continue at their current trajectory. Most importantly, Minister Brown must acknowledge that Eskom is in crisis. She must reveal all the information we have requested from her, and must put a plan on the table to avert a collapse of the grid. Attendance and Attitude The Minister is almost never in the National Assembly. We do however, in most instances, get almost immediate responses from her office when we send letters. The Minister has also attended only a single joint portfolio committee meeting and has yet to address the Public Enterprises committee alone. The Minister is not prepared to accept any responsibility for all that is going wrong in her department and accuses anyone who challenges her for explanations and accountability as being anti-South African. The Minister must work on her accountability towards Parliament and stop trying to push the blame elsewhere. I welcome the fact that there have been no serious scandals involving the Minister nor have there been instances of gross wasteful expenditure. The Minister was present in the house on the day of her oral question’s session. I am concerned though by the fact that questions put to the entities are replied to on behalf of the Minister by the entities and not in the Minister’s name as should be the case. She is the one who is accountable to Parliament and not the management of the entities. Administration, Finance and Organisational Skills The Auditor General gave the Department of Public Enterprises an unqualified audit. Although the AG’s report has revealed no major corruption, there are significant problems in management that must be addressed. To date, no official in any of the entities has been held to account for the absolute shambles that they find themselves in.
At SAA, we only know that many members of the SAA board resigned, but we have no idea as to why. At Eskom, we have seen shocking abuses, including a R43 million sponsorship deal with the New Age Business Breakfasts, even though the entity is on facing imminent financial calamity.
The Bottom Line Minister Brown has proved to be evasive and aggressive when questioned about her performance or when any criticism is given to any of the entities. The Minister has proved to be highly ineffective in her performance so far. We have experienced load shedding and a virtual collapse of the SAA board. The Minister has not come to brief the portfolio committee on any events and kept the committee largely in the dark. There is no attempt at engagement with MP's and all oversight visits have been "red herrings" to avoid the real issues. Grade: 4/10
The Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform: Gugile Nkwinti Policy Direction Southern African land reform is a contentious issue. The Minister has stated that funds are unavailable to reach the target of redistributing 30% of arable land back to the black majority by 2014. Rather advocating a, partial, policy of reforming reclaimed, but unproductive land (up to 90% according to Nkwinti). He has stated that Nationalisation is not an option, but left future land reform policy to future national debate. He has made contentious statements that commercial farmers must co-operate or share a fate "worse than Zimbabwe". This crucial department suffers from perennial policy confusion, poorly drafted legislation and populist law-making drifting from election to election. Budgetary priorities do not correspond with what supposedly the policy priorities should be, e.g. the funding of restitution. Policy direction also does not correspond to the NDP either and no clear plans have thus far been submitted that suggest real progress in implementing concepts contained in the NDP. This department has also failed in implementing the legislation meant to provide tenure security with clarity for both farmers and farmworkers. A direct link can be made between farm evictions and policy confusion in this department. The Land Audit is insufficient for land reform purposes and too many lightning conductor policies (using the legislative processes to distract attention from failure) has become a feature of this department. It fails to liaise well in a transversal manner with other departments, e.g. Justice in terms of its Land Rights Management Unit. We are also not happy with the commitment to transform communal land areas into areas where title deeds and long-term tenure is the dominant form of land usage. There are immense problems at the transaction point between farmers who want to sell their land for land reform purposes and the department that suggests “Willing buyer, Willing seller” is not the problem, but rather “willing seller, completely confused buyer”. This is incidentally one of the reasons for under expenditure in the past. Confusion still exists in terms of suitable and sustainable business models in land reform and policy implementation is superficial in terms of its economic and developmental value. With regards to rural development the department has a piecemeal approach. Programmes do not necessarily combine well with other services offered in rural areas by other departments and is measured in decontextualised outputs, rather than assessing outcomes. This department has fundamentally failed. The minister's early good work of admitting failure in the beginning of his first term was neutralised with the poor draft policy “Strengthening the Relative Rights of Those Working the Land” (The so called 50/50 proposal) that did immense damage to the legitimacy of the NDP and security in the agricultural sector.
Attitude and Attendance The Minister himself has only attended one or two meetings, but he has been consistent in having a deputy minister present to stand in for him and his officials attend well. The quality of responses has been fair in as far as we were looking for information, but it is still early days. We do not experience the Minister as hostile, but he is fairly distant. To be fair, the Minister does seem to want to listen on the few occasions that we interacted, but it is not clear whether that will ever translate into anything. Admin, Finance and Organisational Skills Modest improvements in expenditure figures are neutralised by the consistent vagueness around the detail of the Ingonyama Trust. Twice we threw out reports from this body and the Auditor General indicated some serious concerns. In addition, the actual impact of expenditure is highly doubtful and claims of success based on the Recap programme of the department is misleading since the recap programme’s success can only be truly assessed after its expenditure has actually ended. Vacancy rates remain highly problematic. This department is furthermore drifting into terrain that is not its core business. Despite very positive engagement with the top officials of his department, it is clear that their hands are tied in terms of genuinely controlling their delivery environment. The DA does appreciate the willingness of the departmental officials and the minister and his deputies to engage with their counterparts, but thus far it has born little fruit. The Bottom Line This department suffers from inherent strategic drift, compounded by poor and contradictory policies that are made on the trot in response to short-term political necessities; poor liaising with other departments and levels of government; a fairly shocking officialdom and a lack of clear direction. Truth is that land reform has failed, continues to fail and we do not see clear leadership that will “get on with it”. We will support the minister if he can deal with the above Grade: 5/10
The Minister of Science and Technology: Naledi Pandor Policy Direction The Minister executes her mandate based on the 1996 White Paper on Science and Technology, the National Research and Development Strategy and the Ten (10)-year Innovation Plan. The Minister has a clear vision of what is required to promote the science and technology sector in the country. This is evidenced by the Ministerial Review that she commissioned in 2012. In her second stint as Minister of Science and Technology, after being deployed to the Home Affairs Ministry, she is now again starting to focus on the recommendations contained in the report of the review. The Minister has a good understanding of the interface between higher education and training and the promotion of science and technology and specifically the nurturing of fresh, young researchers. To the Minister’s credit she also realises the importance of investment in Research and Development (R&D) and the importance of innovation to create economic growth. She has set a target of 1.5% of GDP spend on R&D. Hers is one of the best managed departments as can be seen from the unqualified audit report it received. The main problem that faces this department is the limited budget it receives from treasury. I believe that the Minister can do much more if she had a larger budget allocation. Attendance and Attitude The Minister has a positive attitude towards the Portfolio Committee (PC), even though she has not attended any PC meetings, which is regrettable. Her positive attitude could however, be seen during the budget debates where she took copious notes and commented positively on the contributions and proposals of the opposition parties. The Minister is one of few government Ministers who attends Parliamentary sittings regularly, unfortunately oral questions to the Minister were not prioritised and the DA could thus not pose questions to her. The Minister replies quickly and thoroughly to written questions however. Administration, Finance and Organisational Skills The Department of Science and Technology is one of the best managed departments. The problems identified by the Auditor General are of a minor nature and have been addressed as a matter of priority. During the period under review there were no major problems in terms of which she had to hold officials to account. The problems that were raised regarding the CEO of the Technological Innovation Agency were addressed swiftly and with welcomed openness and transparency.
There is however a recent problem in that almost a third of the staff of the Agency face retrenchment. This matter has to be addressed as a matter of urgency as it will impact negatively on reaching the innovation targets. The Bottom Line Minister Pandor is one of the more effective Ministers and I believe that Science and Technology can be enhanced further and make an important contribution to economic growth if the department receives sufficient funding. Grade: 8/10
The Minister of Tourism: Derek Hanekom Policy Direction Minister Hanekom has in a short space of time displayed some useful insights into the Tourism portfolio by agreeing to most of our inputs, for example making sure that we find ways to exploit the importance of the value chain in developing rural tourism. But he has not been activist enough in fighting for the tourism sector. Minister Hanekom has not displayed in our view any enthusiasm to implement e-visas as a means to reverse the negative effects of the new biometric visas. We know that he has received several submissions from the industry about the real impacts of these new regulations, but clearly Minister Hanekom is not prepared to go up against Minister Gigaba on this issue. And as a result the effects thus far have been very negative on the industry and economy. Minister Hanekom must provide clear direction to this department to provide the necessary policies that will create jobs in the tourism sector. Attendance and Attitude Minister Hanekom has only been in office since May of this year. We have pointed out several concerning issues such as underspending, failing to reach targets, and wasteful expenditure to him during the two Portfolio meetings which he has attended. He was very hesitant to make any statements about remedial measures or actions to be taken; and instead left the issues to be answered by the officials. Apart from this, Minister Hanekom has thus far displayed a positive and favourable attitude towards fellow members of the committee. He has also agreed to meet with us soon after his appointment. This meeting was very constructive. During the Minister’s oral question time, the time limit was reached and therefore I was unable to pose any questions to him. In respect to written questions, initially his response time was good. But lately as the questions have become more complicated, the responses have become tardy, sluggish, and delayed. Administration, Finance and Organisational Skills Minister Hanekom has inherited a Department that failed to meet certain key targets for example on domestic tourism growth and tourism infrastructure projects. At this stage it is too early to tell if he will be able to significantly alter the department’s performance. The Bottom Line Given his brief tenure thus far, the DA believes that he is fairly acceptable to the industry and has done reasonably well in terms of understanding the elements of tourism. He should however provide strong and defined leadership given the creativeness and dynamism of the tourism industry. It is clear that at this early stage of his tenure, he is relying heavily on the officials in his department, and is yet to assert himself in his department. If he becomes more active in fighting for the tourism industry, in particular in fighting against the destructive biometric
visa policy, he could help to create jobs in the sector. But if he does not, he will fail in his tenure as tourism minister. Grade: 6/10
The Minister of Arts and Culture: Nathi Mthethwa Policy Direction Minister Mthethwa has done little to give clear direction to his department. Although he has only been in office since May this year, there is not much to show for his time in office. Currently, there is no strategy to promote artists and artistic expression. Outstanding policy on the monitoring of the implementation of the Use of Official Languages Act 12 of 2012 is also an issue that requires the Minister’s attention. Attendance and Attitude The Minister’s attendance in Parliament has been very poor as he has only attended one portfolio committee meeting. His response to Parliamentary questions was fair. All were answered appropriately. Administration, Finance and Organisational Skills The Minister is new to this portfolio and as such it is difficult to judge him on his administrative capability. Fruitless and wasteful expenditure increased by 106%, from R2.7 million in 2012/2013 to R5.6 million in 2013/2014. In the financial year ending 28 February 2014, the irregular expenditure is disclosed at R171 million. The expenditure is mainly due to supply chain related matters, which include consultants being appointed without following due processes as well as a lack of competitive bidding processes. Fruitless and wasteful expenditure was rife within the smaller entities in the department. However, this expenditure was not incurred under his watch. He has acknowledged the problem and committed to address the issue. To his credit, the Minister has acknowledged these problems and has started taking action against problematic officials. He suspended the Director General, Mr Sibusiso Xaba, pending a forensic investigation on irregular expenditure and non-adherence to procedures. Last year we identified that the then minister, Mr Paul Mashatile, had yet to appoint the Pan South African Language Board (Pansalb). The board has finally been appointed under Minister Mthethwa. However there has been no indication as to the guidelines for the hiring of new staff, as the previous HOD appointed family and friends above the existing staff members. Pansalb’s mandate is to protect and promote language rights in South Africa and involves overseeing the implementation of the Use of Official Languages Act of 2012. Given that the board has only recent been appointed, implementation of the Act is severely lacking. The Robben Island museum remains a problem. Last year we warned that mismanagement has become quite problematic and this does not seem to have improved.
Two other entities, the Windybrow Theatre in Johannesburg and the Performing Arts Centre of The Free State (PACOFS) in Bloemfontein, are in serious trouble and at risk of completely falling apart. The Bottom Line Highlights of his term so far have been the expatriation of Nat Nakasa’s remains from the United States of America (USA). Nat Nakasa was a South African writer and journalist who was awarded a scholarship 1964 to study journalism at Harvard University in the USA. The apartheid government rejected his application for a passport and he was forced to leave on an exit permit, which meant that he could not return. He died in the USA but was returned to South Africa and laid to rest in September 2014. There have thus been some positive moves, but financial management and overarching strategic management of the portfolio remains a concern. It must also be noted that Nathi Mthethwa’s utterly dismal performance as Minister of Police previously continues to leave the us very sceptical of his ability to perform at cabinet level. Looking Ahead The key challenges for the Minister in 2015 will be to:
bring order and synergy to the entities that fall under the department; the restructuring of Pansalb; to monitor and ensure the implementation of the Use of Official Languages Act within its entities, departments, ministries and especially in schools and tertiary institutions; Get the department’s financial management up to scratch; and Articulate a clear strategy to advance the arts in South Africa.
The Minister of Basic Education: Angie Motshekga Policy Direction The Minster does have a clearly articulated vision for her department. The Constitution grants access to basic education to everyone as a human right. The Minister has done well with respect to access to education, with close to 100% of young people under the age of 15 being enrolled in school. The enormous challenge that remains is ensuring quality in education. The problems in our education sector are not as the result of the lack of coherent policy but due to a lack of effective implementation. The majority of learners are in under-resourced schools, and are subject to substandard education. Textbook shortages, crumbling infrastructure, teacher absenteeism, lack of accountability at every level, thousands of unqualified teachers, union interference in appointments all contribute to an education system in which high standards are not achieved. The Minister announced this year that her focus will be on quality and efficiency in the education sector. We cannot fault this. However it is implementation that matters. For example, one of the Minister’s first obvious attempts at efficient spending has been the misguided suggestion that there be a single textbook per subject per grade – a campaign that has been rejected by education experts. The Minister’s vision extends, now, to extending formal pre-schooling to two years instead of one. Few would argue against this. But the quality of the first pre-school year (Grade R) has not yet been achieved. We have very few qualified Grade R teachers in place, and recent research has shown that the impact of Grade R, in the vast majority of cases, is statistically insignificant. Two Ministerial reports were published this year. The first on the teaching of maths, science and technology in our schools, and the second on the standard of the National Senior Certificate. Both reports are highly critical of the status quo, and are testament to the extremely poor level of effective implementation of policy. Attendance and Attitude Minister Motshekga’s attitude to parliament has been respectful. She has not been accused of or linked with any corruption or wasteful expenditure. The Minister is present at most parliamentary sittings and attends portfolio committee meetings when important presentations are made, for example when the annual performance plan or the annual report of her department is tabled. Questions are most often answered relatively comprehensively, but not always within the required timeframe. Administration, Finance and Organisational Skills The Department achieved an unqualified audit, but this does not mean that every aspect of its functioning has been well-managed. The Auditor-General found that the department underspent on the programme that includes infrastructure development by more than R560 million, and incurred irregular expenditure of R913 million. The Auditor-General found, for three of the five programmes within the Department, that it
was impossible to confirm reliability of the information presented with respect to these programmes. It is highly disquieting that the Auditor-General found that the Annual Report of the achievements of the Department contained material misstatements. Lack of accountability, at every level in the Department, is at the core of the problems in education. There is no accountability, all the way from teachers to the DG, and to the Minister herself. This is largely as a result of union pressure against enforcing accountability. During the Minister’s Budget Vote speech in July 2014, she stated that she would be utilising the accountability mechanisms provided to her by the National Education Policy Act, specifically to ensure that provincial education departments and their MECs are held accountable for failures in the system. Thus far, despite major problems in education in the Northern Cape, the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo, she has not utilised these mechanisms. More recently, the Ministry replied to a DA question about the NDP requirement for competency tests for teachers, that these would not be implemented. The only conclusion that can reasonably be reached is that the Minister just does not have the political will or energy to stand up to the dominant education union, SADTU. The National Education Evaluation and Development Unit (an entity reporting directly to the Minister) completed a report, focussing on the quality of rural schooling, which comprises 25% of all schooling in South Africa. The report was scheduled to be launched on 18 June 2014. The Minister cancelled the function, and has still not released the (likely damning) report. The Bottom Line To her credit, the Minister has not shied away from problems. She has been very visible and accessible. The objectives she has set are broadly correct. Unfortunately and to her discredit, she has remained in a state of denial about the state of education in the country, and has not successfully implemented large-scale improvements in quality. SADTU remains her biggest unresolved problem. Looking Ahead There are three key challenges for Minister Motshekga in 2015: Accountability measures, such as performance contracts for teachers, deputy principals and principals, need to be implemented despite union opposition to accountability. Addressing the inequality in education standards between poor and more affluent schools, and the feeble state of education in the Eastern Cape and Limpopo, and problems threatening education in KwaZulu-Natal and the Northern Cape. Maintaining labour peace, and thus schooling, during wage negotiations. Grade: 6/10
The Minister of Higher Education and Training: Dr Blade Nzimande Policy Direction Higher Education and Training Minister, Mr Blade Nzimande, presides over a Department which is essential to the future of our society but which is unable to match its ambitions with its funding. Over-ambitious projects abound, the Department is overstretched, and key initiatives flounder. On this front, his approach to Universities is disturbing: at one point he said they need to be “patriotic”, a word with sinister and nationalist overtones. Universities themselves worry about the Minister’s overweening ambitions to control them. His tendencies to centralise everything and anything are notorious. He has forced Universities to accept that no fewer than five Ministerial appointees sit on Councils (until recently, the convention was three), a worrying trend. Far less attention is given by the Minister to the fundamental questions of quality, of what kinds of graduates are being produced by our Universities and Colleges and of how the serious shortcomings in this area could be overcome. The Minister has put forward a White Paper which clearly articulates a somewhat idealized picture of a vastly expanded and harmonised Higher Education and Training system by 2030. The system, it is envisaged, will consist of a range of cascading types of institutions, from research intensive universities, comprehensive universities and universities of technology at the one end to what he calls “community colleges” at the other. In between will be a range of revamped Technical and Vocational Education and Training colleges (TVETs – formerly FET Colleges) which will over time absorb the bulk of students, who will be trained in practical subjects. As is the case with many ANC policies, the White Paper is a long way from reality. The mountain of difficulties he is encountering will take years to overcome, and unless the Minister of Finance is prepared to inject vast amounts of additional funding into the system, the White Paper will be impossible to implement. The most glaring problem is the fact that the White Paper envisages 2.3 million more students being absorbed into the system in the near future. But because the vast majority of these students are from extremely poor backgrounds, somebody is going to have to pay for them. The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) will need a further R51bn to accommodate these students. The second problem is the shocking state of many of the institutions he wishes to include in his vision. The FET colleges have serious quality issues, they were in most instances (the Western Cape an exception) badly neglected, underfunded and rendered corrupt by Provinces before the DHET took them over. Fixing this is one of the DHET’s major tasks. To its credit it embarked upon this task with enthusiasm. But because the Department itself is so understaffed and overstretched, this will be a slow and painful process which will not
easily lend itself to the rapid absorption of huge increases in student numbers envisaged. Other problems include the lack of clarity, focus and expenditure rigour in the SETAs and the National Skills Fund. Attendance and Attitude Minister Nzimande’s attendance at the Portfolio committee has been poor. We have complained. He came to our last meeting and then tried to tell us he would come for “specific matters” only. This appears to be an attempt to shape our agenda to suit him. He is only in the House on occasion. There are no corruption allegations and he has answered questions within reasonable time but the quality of these replies is uneven. Administration, Finance and Organisational Skills The Department itself is managed reasonably well and has improved since last year. However by its own admission, it is unable to meet 50% of its own targets. The SETAS’ performance has deteriorated – four of them received adverse audits, and their performance is shocking FET colleges have all deteriorated, but this could be because they now come under the Auditor General and his requirements are very stringent. The National Skills Fund has an unclear mandate and reported vaguely on its performance and expenditure. Bottom Line The Minister wears two hats, that of the Secretary General of the South African Communist Party and the Minister Higher Education and Training. This is a problem. He has tried to reconcile the two, but can only do so by sacrificing broader questions of quality in Higher Education at the altar of populist rhetoric about controlling Universities, drastically increasing student numbers, centralization, patriotism and other issues. Blade Nzimande remains a wholly unsuitable character to run out higher education system. Grade: 5/10
The Minister of Social Development: Bathabile Dlamini Policy Direction Five years down the line Minister Bathabile Dlamini is yet to remove the means test, used to check whether an applicant is eligible for assistance from the state, for both the child support grant and the old age grant. A recent study by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has found that 2.3 million children are not receiving the child support grant mainly due to a lack of documentation. It is of great concern that South Africa still uses the means test to determine who qualifies for social grants as it excludes many deserving and vulnerable citizens. The child protection register, dysfunctional since 2009, is still not fully operational, especially the part which deals with offenders. As a result many offenders get away with abusing South African children as they are not properly documented. The department has, since 2010, failed to finalise the policy that regulates Non-Profit Organisation’s (NPO’s), despite the fact that the NPO’s render approximately 62% of the social services on behalf of the government. The following frustrations are faced by the NPO’s: delayed payments, inadequate funding, lack of consultation, and poor communication by the department. The shortage of social workers remains a critical issue that affects the department’s ability to provide quality social welfare services, such as foster care. In an attempt to address the problem the department has offered bursaries for deserving students but failed to employ the graduates. Last year we identified the lack of social workers as a severe problem, with the department indicating a 77% shortfall. The DA submitted a parliamentary question in August 2014 to ascertain how many social workers there are currently and if there was any improvement. Unfortunately no improvements were measured. There are clearly enormous challenges with regards to both policy and implementation in this department. Attendance and Attitude The Minister attends meetings fairly often but does not respond to questions timeously. Administration, Finance and Organisational Skills The Department has lost millions through fraud and corruption since the establishment of SASSA .The bulk of SASSA expenditure goes to cash payment of contractors which on average accounts for approximately 53% of the entire budget, whilst the remaining 20% caters for the essential operational expenses. The Auditor-General has indicated that SASSA’s management has not adequately established and communicated policy and procedure to enable and support understanding of internal control activities to ensure a complete and accurate financial reporting. The department incurred R10 million in irregular expenditure mainly because proper
procurement processes were not followed. Almost R300 000 was incurred in fruitless and wasteful expenditure due to officials not showing up at hotels, car damage, and traffic fines. The department has also failed to fight corruption in the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) by establishing the office of inspectorate for social security, as prescribed by Social Assistance Act of 2004. The Bottom Line The Minister has failed to address the issues of corruption within SASSA and to ensure that SASSA is the entity dispersing grants to beneficiaries, as prescribed by the Social Assistance Act, instead of subcontracting the service. The Minister continues to fail South Africans by not employing enough social workers in order for them to deliver quality social services. Looking Ahead The Minister must address the establishment of the office of inspectorate as a matter of urgency if she is committed to fighting corruption as prescribed by the Social Assistance Act. The Minister must address the full implementation of the Child Protection Register together with the Department of Justice, if she’s committed in fighting children and women abuse. The Minister must speed up the finalisation of the NPO policy if she values NPO’s contribution the within the social service. Grade: 4/10
The Minister of Sport and Recreation: Fikile Mbalula Policy Direction The Minister launched 2014 with the controversial ‘bunch of losers’ tirade directed at Bafana Bafana after their elimination from the knockout stages of the 2014 African Championship of Nations (CHAN) tournament in January. A few months later he caused a diplomatic stir with Kenya when he tweeted that unlike the Kenyans, South Africa would not send swimmers to ‘drown in the pool.’ The Minister has become notorious for gaffes, childish remarks and ridiculous language, particularly in his press statements and on his twitter account. From a policy perspective his department is marred by uncertainty regarding the future of sports development in the country. The blueprint that he initiated for sports development, the National Sports and Recreation Plan (NSRP), which the DA supports, continues to be dogged by lack of funding for its implementation. His department has failed to outline a detailed plan to secure the R10 billion it needs for the roll out of the NSRP in light of National Treasury’s pronouncement that there will be no additional funding to the department to fund the plan. The minister seems mostly distracted by the fallout from whatever his latest tirade was, and not so much with the development of sport in South Africa. Attitude and Attendance Minister Mbalula has no regard for parliamentary accountability. He did not appear before the portfolio committee to present the Department’s budget for the 2014/15 financial year. He consistently evades responding to difficult parliamentary questions, specifically when asked to outline his Department’s breakdown of expenditure on the Annual Sports Awards and Floyd Mayweather’s ‘Reawakening the Giant’ Tour of South Africa. His decision to miss the second quarterly oral questions for the social cluster in favour of attending the Feathers Awards, an award ceremony that honours celebrities who have inspired the gay and lesbian community during the year, illustrates not only his skewed priorities but also exposes his disregard for accountability. Administration, finance and Organisation Skills The Mass Participation Programme, designed to enhance access to sports in communities and schools and increase the number of participants in sport and recreation in South Africa, which is allocated more than 50% of the department’s total budget, is underperforming severely. None of the 4000 schools that were targeted to receive support from the department to participate in the Schools Sports League received any assistance. In addition to this, the department failed to provide 4 000 schoolteachers with the sports coaching training it promised. Boxing South Africa has been crippled by internal instability following the suspension of the
CEO which was succeeded by the suspension of the acting CEO, both for allegations ranging from financial mismanagement to corruption. To its credit, in 2013/14 the department received a clean audit. This is the first ever achievement of an unqualified audit by the Department. The Bottom Line Minister Mbalula’s most commendable sports accomplishment in 2014 was the launch of the professional Netball Premier League which has helped revive the sport which has been in steady decline over the years and obtaining an unqualified audit report for the Department. But the reality is that Minister Mbalula has become little more than punchline in serious government circles and in Parliament. He has not shown the maturity required to lead at cabinet level. Looking Ahead Yet again the Minister has failed to make significant strides in developing sporting and recreational opportunities for communities and athletes. Sport can play a massive positive role in shaping societies and this is not being taken advantage of. The Minster needs to focus on tightening up financial controls to ensure that money earmarked for sport reaches its destination. Grade: 3/10
The Minister of Women in the Presidency: Susan Shabangu Policy Direction Minister Susan Shabangu was previously in the mineral resources portfolio where she failed to tackle the numerous problems facing South Africa’s mining industry, such as declining production and job losses. She is not doing any not better as the Minister of Women in the Presidency. She has been in the job for six months and has failed to provide any coherent vision for the future. The Minister constantly blames the transfer of children and people with disabilities portfolio’s to the Department of Social Development, which resulted in a 66% decreased of her responsibilities, for her failures. While the department is fairly new, there is a lack of leadership and clear policy direction. There is no articulated vision for the ministry, and not much has happened since she took over this post. Attitude and Attendance Minister Shabangu attends Parliament fairly often, but does not table the necessary reports timeously. The submission of the second quarterly report was late and the Annual Performance Plan has yet to be submitted. Administration, Finance and Organisational Skills The department incurred R1.8 million in irregular expenditure – which is currently under investigation - and the department has consistently overspent on aspects like travel, administration and salaries. The Commission for Gender Equality, which is mandated to promote, protect, monitor and evaluate gender equality, spent 64% of its 2013/2014 budget on the compensation of employees. Minister Shabangu has yet to show any sign of decisive action to meet her targets. Only 40% of its first quarter targets and 32% of its second quarter targets were met. The Bottom Line In a meeting with civil society to launch the 16 days of Activism against gender violence, the Minister showed her lack of commitment to the women of South Africa. The Minister invited Chief Moses Mahlangu from Mpumalanga who spoke passionately about his belief that women must be submissive to their husbands. Another invited speaker, Princess Dineo from the Northwest Province, commented that feminism is un-African and that domestic abuse should be dealt with in the home rather than by funding centres for abused women and children. Both speakers received nods from the Minister on the dais which is of great concern. Her statements at this launch drew widespread condemnation from NGOs as being patriarchal and demeaning. The fact that NGO’s such as People Opposing Women Abuse (Powa), Sonke Gender Justice, South African National AIDS Council Women’s Sector, and roughly 10 others issued a statement saying that the “Ministry's language in launching this campaign
reinforced a range of patriarchal ideas that we, as organisations that support a gender-equal society, have fought against for years” is indicative a Ministry that seems to have lost sight of its mandate and purpose. Minister Shabangu is not suitable for this role, as she is not an activist for women’s rights. Looking Ahead The Minister’s main challenges are to: regain the trust of the NGO sector that supports the work the ministry is supposed to be doing; compiling a proper plan and vision for the department; to ensure that reports are delivered on time; and clearly articulate a strong message on women’s rights in the public eye. Grade: 4/10
The Minister of Public Service and Administration: Collins Chabane Policy Direction Minister Chabane has failed to implement a coherent vision for the department which is mandated to ensure compliance, improve service delivery, and strengthen monitoring and evaluation as stipulated in the Public Service Act of 1994. The Minister has failed to see to it that the Department functions effectively and efficiently. The Public Administration Management Bill, which was gazetted in August 2013, is a victory for accountability within government, as the bill seeks to clean up and professionalise the public service. The bill seeks to prevent public servants from doing business with the state. In particular, the bill stipulates that state employees would have to disclose their own financial interests, those of their spouses and partners, and those of anyone else living with them. Public servants who contravened it would face dismissal. However, this bill has yet to be signed by President Zuma. This delay may well be deliberate, a strategy ahead of the 2016 local government elections to keep those within the ANC who are opposed to the bill happy. Minister Chabane has therefore failed to ensure this bill has been signed, 15 months after it was gazetted. In July this year, following the additional departments created by President Zuma after the May general elections, Minister Chabane announced that a task team will be set up to tackle the establishment of new departments in government, specifically dealing with creation and resourcing of these departments is done in an accountable manner. This task team has yet to make any considerable impact, with the Department of Small Business Development being a clear example of its failure. The Small Business Development department was created in May this year, yet it still does not have a clear mandate, sufficient financial independence as the department is largely under the authority of the department of Trade and Industry. Minister Chabane has yet to draft and implement a new Ministerial Handbook, which was frequently alluded to by his predecessor, Lindiwe Sisulu. This handbook, which will curb Cabinet’s spending on exorbitant luxuries such as vehicles and travelling costs, was first promised by President Zuma in July 2009. The biggest issue that Minister Chabane has failed to address is the public sector wage bill, which is currently a staggering R450 billion, almost half of the national budget. The Minister must act quickly, and work with Treasury in order to bring down this figure, with specific attention to superfluous and unnecessary positions within the public sector. Attendance and Attitude Minister Chabane’s attendance was barely satisfactory, without making regular appearances at portfolio committee meetings. The full details for the serious overspending incurred during the term of office of Minister Lindiwe Sisulu remained the elephant in the room for Mr Chabane. Instead of providing leadership and clarity to ensure that Sisulu is held accountable, he chose to avoid the issue completely.
Administration, Finance, and Organisational Skills The financial performance of the department has been dismal. A new CFO has been recently appointed, and this may have a positive result after the department received the worst audit opinion in the last few years which is a disclaimer. Minister Chabane was burdened with his predecessor, Lindiwe Sisulu’s mismanagement of public funds after she was allocated an additional amount of R24 million for 2013/2014 and ended up spending R74,8 million. This was partly due to the Minister’s exorbitant demands regarding travel and the remuneration of her bloated contingent of support staff. The Bottom Line The Department plays a major policy role in establishing norms and standards for the Public Service, which ensures that service delivery mechanisms, integrated systems and access, human resources, institutional development and governance initiatives are responsive to the needs of the citizens. These are the areas of focus that the Minister should pay attention to in ensuring that public funds are utilised adequately. Looking Ahead In the coming year, Minister Chabane must:
Ensure the successful passing of the Public Administration Management Bill, by making sure President Zuma signs the bill as soon as possible. Ensure the drafting and implementation of a new Ministerial Handbook, which will go far to curb cabinet spending. Ensure the task team that was set up to tackle the establishment of new departments in government fulfils its mandate in ensuring financial independence as well as accountability, particularly for the Department of Small Business Development. Urgently address the bloated public wage bill, which currently sits at R450million, almost half of the national budget.