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Ramaphosa executive is a 'poverty cabinet': Steenhuisen

Aphiwe Deklerk Political reporter
DA leader John Steenhuisen discussed the ministers' scores on the DA scorecard and explained why he wants the entire cabinet axed. File image.
John Steenhuisen DA leader John Steenhuisen discussed the ministers' scores on the DA scorecard and explained why he wants the entire cabinet axed. File image.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

DA leader John Steenhuisen has labelled President Cyril Ramaphosa's executive the “poverty cabinet” and wants them fired.

Steenhuisen last month tabled a motion of no confidence in the cabinet, but not Ramaphosa, a first in democratic SA.

At a press conference on Thursday, Steenhuisen and party spokesperson Siviwe Gwarube presented a “scorecard” for ministers in the cabinet.

The lowest-scoring ministers are human settlements minister Mmamoloko Kubayi and water and sanitation minister Senzo Mchunu, who are both given 8%. 

The DA scored transport minister Fikile Mbalula at 16% while it gave communications and digital technologies minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni 19% — the same score it gave minister in the presidency Mondli Gungubele.

It gave 21% to minister for women, youth and people with disabilities Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

Employment and labour minister Thulas Nxesi, mineral resources and energy minister Gwede Mantashe, public works minister Patricia de Lille and tourism minister Lindiwe Sisulu all got 24%.

The scores are based on performance agreements the ministers signed with Ramaphosa.

Steenhuisen questioned the way the agreements were drafted. 

“In most cases the targets in these supposed four-year performance agreements were copied and pasted from the ministers’ 2019 annual performance plans, meaning they’re likely to become redundant before 2024 anyway,” he said. 

“There was never any intention to use these agreements as a real tool to enforce accountability. After the initial media coverage of the ministers and the president signing the agreements they were left to gather dust.

Firing an entire cabinet is a hugely disruptive intervention, but ... we have no choice
DA leader John Steenhuisen

“Firing an entire cabinet is a hugely disruptive intervention, but such is the level of destruction wrought on our economy by the incompetence, indifference and corruption of these ministers, we have no choice.

“It is clear that despite his regular assurances, President Ramaphosa has neither the will nor the clout to hold a single minister accountable for his or her performance. If he won’t do it then we will, because the lives of poor South Africans depend on it. 

“We have dubbed this cabinet the poverty cabinet because, as a direct result of their disastrous policies and incompetence, an epidemic of poverty, unemployment and inequality has been unleashed on our society.”

The actions or inaction of ministers have caused despair and suffering for millions of people and the metrics that measure the suffering were moving in the wrong direction, he said. 

Steenhuisen said MPs should be physically present in the National Assembly for the debate and vote and be allowed to vote individually according to their conscience and not in a block vote announced by party chief whips.

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