Ramaphosa's assessment of his ministers is a victory – John Steenhuisen

DA leader says President has reportedly started a process to assess whether his minister's are delivering

Assessment of Poverty Cabinet ministers is a victory for the DA

11 April 2022

Note to Editors: Please find performance agreement targets of cabinet ministers here, performance interventions here and a soundbite from the DA Federal Leader John Steenhuisen here.

The DA is pleased that our recent evaluation of cabinet ministers against their own performance agreement targets has produced results, in that President Ramaphosa appears to have yielded to this pressure to hold his incompetent, indifferent, and corrupt ministers accountable for their clear failures.

According to a News24 report yesterday, the president has started a process to assess whether the ministers in his Poverty Cabinet are delivering on the targets set in their performance agreements.

This long-overdue process is the result of strong action taken by the DA to show that Ramaphosa’s Poverty Cabinet is directly responsible for the record levels of unemployment, inequality and poverty in South Africa, that have plunged millions of people into unnecessary despair and suffering and risk a repeat of last year’s July unrest.

We are determined that the Poverty Cabinet must be replaced. With corruption-accused Zandile Gumede having been elected as ANC eThekwini regional chairperson last night, and with her allies having won all the other top positions contested, Ramaphosa has clearly lost control of this and other key regions. But he can and must control the size and composition of his cabinet.

In a press conference on 24 March, the DA presented objective evidence to show that every single minister in the Poverty Cabinet has failed to do their job to even the lowest standard that could reasonably be expected of them. We called on the president to make good on his promise three years ago to hold non-performing ministers accountable, by monitoring their progress against specific targets.

On 19 May 2019, he promised regular evaluations, saying: “I will be signing performance agreements with each and every one of the ministers and deputy ministers which will be evaluated regularly against clearly stated targets and clearly stated performance outcomes. And where implementation is unsatisfactory, action will be taken.”

An honest assessment will show what the DA has already established: that only 32% of the 757 measurable targets set for his cabinet have been achieved and that not a single minister is performing to an acceptable standard. I will today share with President Ramaphosa the DA’s full evaluation report of cabinet ministers to assist him in his task of cleaning up his cabinet.

The obvious solution is for him to replace most of his ministers. A reshuffle of the same useless individuals will not constitute “action” and will do nothing to solve South Africa’s fast-growing problems. The fish rots from the head.

This is also an opportunity for the president to trim our bloated cabinet and bring it in line with governments elsewhere. At 38 ministries, we have one of the largest and most inefficient cabinets in the world – more than twice the size of cabinets in many modern democracies. On top of this, each of our ministries has a deputy minister, and in some cases more than one, who serve no purpose at all. Ramaphosa must put an end to this wasteful jobs-for-cadres scheme and give South Africa the lean, fit-for-purpose cabinet it needs.

This is why the DA initiated a Motion of No Confidence in the Poverty Cabinet. Sadly, ANC members of parliament, and those from ANC-aligned parties (including ATM and GOOD), failed to keep their oath of office, which is to put country over party by holding cabinet ministers to account for their failures.

And so it falls to President Ramaphosa himself to find the backbone to fire useless ministers. At the very least, he needs to immediately replace these five ministers with individuals who have the ability and will to deliver:

- Police Minister Bheki Cele, for his complete failure to prevent last year’s violence and looting, and for now doing nothing while xenophobic politicians fuel public anger that could lead to a repeat.
- Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe, for his complete failure and unwillingness to enable independent power producers to close South Africa’s energy gap.
- Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, for his complete failure to properly process and document migrants, a failure which has added to the violent xenophobia in South Africa.
- Public Works Minister Patricia de Lille, for her complete failure to protect parliament from burning down, for the wasteful Beitbridge border fence fiasco, and for the ongoing feud with her Director-General which has resulted in his suspension for the past year and eight months on full pay.
- Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula for his complete failure to protect our rail network from vandals, looters and saboteurs, as well as the driver’s licence card shambles.

Make no mistake, the growing poverty, joblessness and instability in South Africa are due to the rank failure of Ramaphosa’s cabinet ministers to deliver on even the most basic requirements of their mandate. You cannot end poverty with a Poverty Cabinet. Indeed, you cannot even slow the fall. Heads must roll.

Issued by John Steenhuisen, Leader of the Democratic Alliance, 11 April 2022