19 Dec Whose Cabinet Is It Anyway? – Vol 1
Whose Cabinet Is It Anyway? – Vol 1.
As South Africans try to wrap their heads around accusations of criminal activity against our president and possible impeachment, many are wondering what would happen if the president is indeed dethroned?
The country has suffered corruption fatigue for more than a decade, and yet the latest developments have people scrutinising our leaders anew. Who is the best candidate to lead the country, and who are the current leaders in our cabinet? Is anyone fit for office at all?
Given the length of this article, we will stagger it over two months.
The endless reshuffling of the card deck
One of SA’s problems is that the ruling party just continues to reshuffle the card deck when the going gets tough – simply placing individuals in different roles than those they’re accused of mismanaging. Over the years we’ve seen an endless loop of ministers, commissioners and managers simply walk into different roles in government – roles for which they are often not remotely suited to or for which they lack skill.
Consider, for instance, that the highest degree held by Arthur Fraser – the man who accused the president of wrongdoing (who steered both the State Security Agency as well as Correctional Services) – is a BA (Hons) degree in Film and Video Production (as well as a Certificate of Attendance from the Institute of Directors of South Africa). While it is true that individuals need not hold degrees in specific fields to be proficient in others, one would imagine that someone in charge of law, order, investigations and security would be at least slightly more proficient in their post.
Not that Fraser is an anomaly. Our cabinet has been reshuffled more than a card deck in a high-stakes casino.
We can all recall, for instance, when former NP head and successor to FW de Klerk, Marthinus van Schalkwyk swiftly abandoned his party ideals and political opinions by discarding the newly established NNP for the ANC in a rather public display of musical chairs. Van Schalkwyk later confirmed that he had formerly been an agent for National Intelligence Services and member of the Broederbond – funded by Apartheid military intelligence. The ANC would appoint him as Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and later as Minister of Tourism – in industries he was neither qualified in nor knew anything about.
In the game of political musical chairs, it’s well known that those who grab the chairs are either swifter and more cunning, more intimidating, or hold the most favour compared to their opponents. It is odd to imagine that van Schalkwyk thought he would succeed in his new roles given that he had ousted, abandoned, discarded, betrayed and conformed so swiftly with, between and against any and all factions who may have supported him in the past. It’s reminiscent of the new kid on the playground who desperately wants to fit in to the extent that he would deny his friends and agree to silly antics on the playground to prove his alliance to his new gang – only to prove, inadvertently, that he cannot be trusted by anyone.
Van Schalkwyk is hardly the only token politician to voluntarily cripple his career through a momentary attack of hubris – but those persons are hardly the greatest enemies of the South African people. Our greatest enemies are those who remain in power indefinitely despite their clear lack of acumen, moral direction or accountability.
Who’s heading our country?
Let’s take a look at our parliament, the qualifications, positions and where these people have served in the past. It’s important to consider those who are in power, how proficient they are, and whether their appointments are valid.
With the exception of Patricia de Lille, all ministers in our cabinet are members of the ANC.
A note on honorary degrees – While several ministers have received honorary degrees from various institutions, these may be laudable, but aren’t considered qualifications in an academic sense. We will therefore forego the mention of honorary degrees for the sake of brevity.
Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa
Current position: President of the Republic of South Africa
Note: once a president is elected, they are no longer considered an MP
Known name/nickname: Cyril
– BCom Industrial Psychology and Economics (Unisa)
– Certificates in Security Studies (Naval University, Montreal)
– Leadership Course (University of United Nations, Jordan)
– Deputy President of the ANC
– Chairman of the National Planning Commission
– Arms Inspector for the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning Arms – Provisional IRA armaments
– Director of New Africa Investments Limited
– General Secretary Of the National Union of Mineworkers
– Secretary-general of the ANC
– Chairperson of the Constitutional Assembly of South Africa
– Executive Chairperson of Shanduka Group
– First Deputy Chairperson of Commonwealth Business Council
– Deputy Chairperson of the National Planning Commission
– Facilitated SA-Vietnam and SA-Singapore relations in order to transform SA SOEs
– Confirmed the National Development Plan against state corruption
– Commander in Chief of the South African National Defence Force
– Host of BRICS summit
– Bought the McDonald’s Franchise South Africa in 2014 in order to establish 145 McDonald’s restaurants in SA.
– Reignited high-end Ankole cattle breeding by purchasing prized cattle from Uganda which were quarantined in Kenya before allowance into South Africa, prized breeds were reintroduced into SA to improve breeding stock and cattle value.
– Co-authored Cattle of the Ages, Stores and Portraits of the Anole Cattle of Southern Africa.
– Facilitated peace talks during SA’s transition as Chair of the Constitutional Assembly
– Forced public servants to cut their income during Covid-19 and redistributed their incomes to poor communities
– Launched the Youth Employment Service (YES) initiative
– Launched the Sanitation Appropriate for Education (SAFE) initiative to address issues in schools
– Part of the board of directors of Lonmin during the Lonmin Marikana massacre.
– Was called to resign in a leaked letter by suspended party secretary-general Ace Magashule in May 2021.
– Accused of money laundering and abuse of power in the Phala Phala debacle.
Angela Thokozile Didiza
Current position: Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development
Known name/nickname: Thoko Didiza
DOB: 2 June 1965 (57)
– Certificate in Secretarial Course (Sached)
– Diploma in Personnel and Training Practice (Executive Education College)
– Public Relations certificate (Executive Education College)
– Diploma in Journalism (Birnam Business College)
– Diploma in Business and Financial Management (Executive Education College)
– BA Sociology and Politics (unspecified)
– BA Hons Politics (unspecified)
– Treasurer of the Natal Women’s Organisation
– South African Coordinator for the World Affiliated Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA)
– Associate Member of the Women’s Development Bank
– National General Secretary of the Women’s National Coalition
– National Deputy General Secretary for the South African Council of YWCA
– Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs
– Minister of Public Works
Few – as far as we can tell
Matsie Angelina Motshekga
Current position: Minister of Basic Education
Known name/nickname: Angie Motshekga
DOB: 19 June 1955 (66)
– M.Ed (Wits)
– B.Ed Science(Wits)
– BA Education (University of the North)
– Minister of Social Development
– Lecturer: Soweto College of Education
– Lecturer: University of the Witwatersrand
– Member of the Soweto Education Crisis Committee
– Member of the National Education Union of South Africa
– Member of the Executive Council of Social Services and Population Development
– National Convenor of Teacher Unity
– Director in the Office of the Presidency
– Deputy Provincial Secretary of the ANCWL
– Member of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature x 2
– Social Development portfolio member of the Executive Council
– National President of the ANCWL
– Accused of failing to ensure the proper qualification of teachers after a report that teachers scored 10% for English and 5% for maths.
– Failed to eradicate pit toilets and ensure safe sanitisation in schools after the death of a student who drowned in a pit toilet in 2014.
– Accused of failing to address the high learner drop-off of approximately 150 000 Grade 10 students in 2019.
– Failed to ensure the upskilling of teachers via continued professional development in 2020/21. Only 7.4% of teachers were assisted with development while 40% had been verified.
– Achieved a 0% assistance rate for the 10 000 teachers targeted for professional support.
– Accused of disempowering school communities by supporting the BELA bill.
Check in next time for more…
We’ll be stretching this series over two months, so be sure to check in again for our other ministers.
In the meantime, feel free to leave your details below if you want to discuss your cross-border finance.
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