NEWS & ANALYSIS

Ramaphosa acknowledges ANC undermining Constitution – Afrikanerbond

If president is serious about building a capable state, govt will need to draw in white, coloured and Indian experts

An acknowledgement that the ANC is undermining the Constitution

20 January 2020

We take note of the political promise and undertakings in the weekly newsletter of the President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, about the termination of cadre deployment. Although it falls pleasingly on the ear, it is problematic that the President’s opinion is that this is a decision which rests on him and his government.

In his newsletter, the President said:

“We are committed to end the practice of poorly qualified individuals being parachuted into positions of authority through political patronage. There should be consequences for all those in the public service who do not do their work.”

However, through this newsletter it is an acknowledgement that the ANC had contravened the provisions of the Constitution by deploying cadres.

We would like to refer the President in this regard to section 197 (3) of the Constitution, which provides: (3) No employee of the public service may be favoured or prejudiced only because that person supports a particular political party or cause.” Consequently this cannot be a promise or a well-intentioned undertaking by the President, but does indeed mean that the Constitution will be complied with.

On Wednesday 17 July 2019 Mr Jacob Zuma told the Zondo-Commission that “loyalty to the party [ANC] was one of the prerequisites for individuals being appointed to the boards of State-Owned Enterprises or government positions.”  It is a pity that the ANC tacitly accepted this particular viewpoint then.

In Mr Ramaphosa’s comment in his newsletter, he actually puts into words the core dilemma arising from the present government’s many years of undermining the South African Constitution.

Through the ANC’s enforcing of cadre deployment, the ANC absolutely politicised the public service and other semi-state-owned institutions, with catastrophic consequences for the failed State through state capture, corruption and mismanagement. A once-successful state infrastructure fell into disrepair through mismanagement, bad management or simply through incompetence, because loyal party cadres had been put into positions of responsibility for which they had not been trained and had no experience – except that they were loyal to the ANC. 

If Mr Ramaphosa is serious about building up a capable state, it would be necessary to involve not only black expertise but also white, coloured and Indian experts. This expertise is however being withheld from any appointment by means of enforcing transformation through affirmative action, black economic empowerment and quotas.

It is all very well to admit on the one hand that the Constitution will indeed be applied now in the public service. On the other hand, a capable state can only be achieved if party loyalty and discriminatory measures are renounced, and if the focus is far rather placed on merit, expertise, accountability and the acceptance of responsibility. Anything else would simply allow the State to sink even further into failure.

Issued by Jan Bosman, Chief Secretary, Afrikanerbond, 20 January 2020