New Cabinet a good start, Mr President – FW de Klerk Foundation

Ramaphosa warned however to watch his back at Luthuli House

Statement on the new Cabinet: A good start Mr President

30 May 2019

The FW de Klerk Foundation welcomes the announcement of the Cabinet last night by President Cyril Ramaphosa. In appointing and restructuring the Cabinet, he made good on at least two promises: a smaller and more efficient Cabinet and the need for honest and efficient members of the highest executive office in the land - however, factoring in the additional Deputy Ministers, it is not a cost-saving in real terms.

As expected, it is also not a 100% Ramaphosa first choice Cabinet, but those erstwhile supporters of his predecessor are few and far between. The Cabinet (including the Deputy Ministers) represents a good balance of experience and youth, with the most strategic ministries occupied by people closely aligned to the views and reformist direction of the President. Especially these appointments will instil confidence, not only in the markets and investors, but in the majority of ordinary South Africans.

We congratulate all newly-appointed Minsters and Deputy Ministers and wish them strength and wisdom. As the chairman of the Cabinet has indicated, they have a tremendous task to re-install efficient and transparent government. A very good first step would be to look critically at all present Directors-General, as this is often where a State department fails or succeeds. A second step would be to align their departments’ aims with the President’s quest for clean and efficient government, economic growth and job creation, and effective service delivery.

Mr President, this is a good start. But if we may be bold enough to point out the obvious: watch your back with regard to Luthuli House. The proliferation of those who were not considered clean or good enough for Cabinet at your party’s headquarters, to boot under the leadership of someone who has shown himself not to be aligned with your reformist agenda, is a development that must be watched closely.

The danger does not necessarily lie in the immediate future, but when the next provincial party structures are decided, and lists are drawn up. Ensure that your work in government in the interests of all South Africans is not white-anted by those with a narrow and selfish agenda at Luthuli House. 

Issued by Megan Dick, Communications and Marketing Manager, FW de Klerk Foundation, 30 May 2019