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Ramaphosa has no confidence in his own ministers, opposition parties say

Aphiwe Deklerk Political reporter
President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers the state of the nation address on Thursday night.
President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers the state of the nation address on Thursday night.
Image: GCIS

The two biggest opposition parties in the country believe that President Cyril Ramaphosa has no confidence in his cabinet, after he announced yet another expert to head a team dealing with cutting red tape.

In his state of the nation address on Thursday, Ramaphosa announced that former Exxaro CEO Sipho Nkosi would lead the “red tape team”, to be located in his office, with the goal of creating an ease-of-doing-business environment.

This comes just a day after he announced former Absa CEO Daniel Mminele would head the newly established presidential climate finance task team.

Both the EFF's Julius Malema and the DA's John Steenhuisen believe this was a vote of no confidence in Ramaphosa's own cabinet — with Steenhuisen going as far as saying it shows that the president feels that he has a “dummy cabinet”.

“[He has] passed a motion of no confidence in the minister of small business, but also outsourcing issues of environment and raising the necessary capital is another motion of no confidence in the minister of the environment.

“But he has also passed a motion of no confidence in himself after promising so many millions of jobs. Now he says government cannot provide jobs; jobs must be provided by the private sector,” said Malema.

He said Ramaphosa had promised jobs in the manifesto of the ANC, but his about-turn now meant he had outsourced the responsibility of governing the people of SA.

Steenhuisen, though he was generally happy with Ramaphosa's take on the economy, questioned the reasoning behind appointing people to the presidency.

“You would have noticed three new private people in the president's office. Dealing with red tape, dealing with raising funds for climate change and one or two other things. Why is he not doing this with cabinet ministers? It's clear that he feels that he has got a dummy cabinet that can't do the things that he wants done, so now he has got to appoint people to his office to get things done.

“The small business minister should be cutting red tape, the trade and industry minister should be doing some of the things that he spoke about, and I think it's a very clear sign,” said Steenhuisen.

He was, however, impressed by the announcement on the economy by the president, saying they were from the “DA's playbook”.

Steenhuisen said he was delighted that, for the first time, there was an ANC president who understood that the state-led approach was not going to get growth.

He said Ramaphosa was speaking about things the DA had been speaking about for a while, which included cutting red tape and opening up the economy.   

UDM chief whip Nqabayomzi Kwankwa agreed with Steenhuisen, saying the interventions on the economy sounded more like he was listening to a DA manifesto or a DA speech.


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