Cabinet has made its views known on the most pressing issue of the day: The question of Bafana Bafana’s perfomance at the World Cup.
This just in from our Parliamentary reporter, Nkululeko Ncana:
Government spokesman Themba Maseko told journalists in parliament that cabinet was of the view that there should be no further delay by the SA Football Association in its appointment of a new coach following its decision to sack Joel Santana earlier this week.
“It is absolutely essential that the team performs fairly well. Our hope is that as a host nation we should actually win the World Cup and become the first African nation to win the World Cup,” Maseko said.
He said the appointment of a new coach would ensure that the process of “developing” a competitive team immediately gets underway. Maseko said the non-performance of Bafana would “dampen” the spirit of South Africans.
“Cabinet is obviously aware that it is absolutely essential for the national team to perform well during the World Cup finals because history has proved that if the host country’s national team performs well, that tends to mobilise the citizens of that country to attend the game and be exited about that tournament,” he said.
Cabinet’s meeting noted the launch of the Football Friday initiative on October 30 by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe for government in support of the country’s hosting of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
There you have it. We are nothing if not an optimistic people …
Address by the Minister in the Presidency: National Planning
Presidency’s Budget Vote debate
Trevor A Manuel, MP
24 June 2009
President Zuma, in announcing his new Cabinet last month, established a Ministry for Planning in The Presidency. Before discussing the broad objectives, key institutions and the proposed Green Paper, I wish to briefly sketch the context and rationale that gave rise to the need for a planning ministry.
Countries that have grown rapidly over two to three generations have often had clear strategies which required difficult trade-offs and a careful sequencing of policies. Often, long run growth and development requires long term investments in people, in democratic institutions and in infrastructure. Countries are often reluctant to make correct trade-offs because trade-offs sometimes imply pain in the short term or pain for some people, with long term uncertainty. If a country chooses to spend more on education, it must spend less on something else. If a country chooses to invest more, it must consume less today. Read More…
THE Public Enterprises Minister Barbara Hogan appears to have done it again.
Her political masters believe she spoke out of school when she suggested placing a for sale sign over the door of underperforming public enterprises.
She has committed a political faux pas and will now probably have to go through the ritual cleansing that must follow, culminating in an apology or an explanation that she was quoted out of context.
But, just as when she spoke out in favour of the Dalai Lama visiting, she was speaking sense.
Take SAA, for example. It has lurched from one government bail-out to another, costing the public chest (read you and me) billions at a time.
It is clearly in need of some vigorous business discipline.
It does not need the Treasury to feed its spending habit from the public purse.
The total — or even partial — sale of the corporation to introduce such discipline would benefit the taxpayer and the flying public.
The only conceivable reason for not selling off SAA is the atavistic belief that every country needs a national airline if it is to be taken seriously abroad.
The problem for SAA is that it competes against leaner, meaner international operations and it is starting to lose.
There are other public enterprises which could do with private inspiration. Transnet, which is building a new pipeline that none of the oil companies want, comes to mind.
The spending of billions of rands in what officialdom patronisingly believes to be the national interest, like it or not, is absurd in the current climate.
The credit fiasco has strengthened the hand of those who believe the state must intervene heavily it the economy. It is an unfortunate fad.
ON Sunday, Jacob Zuma announced a new “hotline” which the public would be able to use to give him feedback on the performance of his administration.
Except for one thing: There was no hotline. Attempts by our staff to obtain the number for Monday morning’s newspaper bore no fruit. Apparently the line is yet to be set up.
This could mean one of two things: Zuma is flying by the seat of his pants and making up stuff as he goes along or he is announcing things that are yet to be finalised.
Either way, it’s not good communication practice. This line should have been set up with staff in place to deal with incoming calls before it was announced.
Another example: Zuma’s dramatically expanded Cabinet appears to have been the result of last minute horse-trading. Our political staff obtained a list the day before Zuma met the ANC’s National Executive Committee which had fewer ministers. After the meeting, the ministerial line up had been reshuffled, new portfolios had been created and fresh names had been added.
This suggests that these changes were made on the fly in the executive meeting with the small matter of the cost of expanding cabinet not having been discussed by the treasury.
Billions of rands in public spending were added to government’s bill to satisfy last minute pork barrelling within the ruling party.
Then there is the question of policy. Big promises were made about “improving the quality of jobs” on the election campaign trail with little heed to what would happen when public sector unions demanded fulfillment of this promise. The tax industry was assuaged with a “halting” of the bus transport system — also on the eve of the election — with no mind paid to how this would play in post-election negotiations.
JACOB Zuma has promised a transparent administration and yesterday he announced that his office would have a hotline which the public could call to complain about government service.
At first blush it sounds like another piece of spin-doctoring about transparency, but there may be more to it. Zuma has set up a ministry to deal with the evaluation of government performance under Collins Chabane.
Chabane has landed a poisoned chalice. In order to succeed, he will have to make himself very unpopular. He will have to be the bearer of bad tidings about ministerial performance to Zuma.
The big test will come when Zuma is called upon to act when presented with a clear case of underperformance.
His personality suggests otherwise. He is a reconciler who prefers smoothing over the rough edges to confrontation.
Acting against an errant minister will require a serious break with the culture of endless forgiveness within the ANC, a culture that even the contrarian Thabo Mbeki was incapable of changing.
He allowed incompetent ministers to continue in their positions long after the public, their departments and their fellow ministers had given up on them.
So it was possible for South Africa to plunge into darkness due to a massive failure of planning and procurement in the public enterprises ministry without Alec Erwin suffering the slightest censure .
Manto Tshabalala-Msimang plunged the public health system into crisis and took public hospitals to the brink of collapse without even the mildest rebuke.
Zuma will have to show some backbone and act against incompetence if his stated desire to return government to the people is to be fulfilled.
In his column in Business Day this morning, Tony Leon wrote: “Zille’s reference to Zuma’s personal history was factually correct but tactically questionable. It struck a discordant note in the upwelling mood which flowed from the presidents’s inauguration and the wave of optimism it generated.”
And he was critical of Zille’s Western Cape Cabinet choices, saying: “I think Bill Clinton got it right when, in appointing his first administration in 1992, he announced: “I want a cabinet that looks like America”. The fact that the Western Cape provincial government doesn’t look like SA, or on the face of it is overloaded with testosterone, doesn’t mean it won’t deliver or won’t be vigilant on feminist issues. But it handed a sword to the party’s opponents, who were delighted to plunge it in with vigour. And politics is often more about symbols than substance.”
Pretty much the way I saw it in my blog posts. Now will the DA hacks accuse Tony Leon of sucking up to the ANC?
A very uninspiring first Cabinet meeting. Basically, they have created such bureaucracy with new ministers and ministers watching ministers that they are going to spend a lot of their time trying to rescramble the decision making egg. This from the statement:
The primary purpose of the meeting was to prepare for the Cabinet Lekgotla which is scheduled to take place on 26 to 28 May 2009. The Lekgotla will deal with three key issues namely, the adoption of the new Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) which will be informed by the new electoral mandate, to provide the new administration with an opportunity to reflect on and plan for the implementation of the government Programme of Action for the period leading to the next Cabinet Lekgotla in January 2010; and lastly, to reflect on the modalities and structures for the National Strategic planning function and the structural changes in the executive and government.
Not exactly whipass government.
So you thought the flame war was over? Not so fast. In its weekly online column, the ANC has once more blasted Helen Zille, saying:
“The temptation to respond to Helen Zille in a reactive manner on her backward stance regarding gender parity may cloud the gains we have made as women in this country. She benefited from the struggles of women in this country to the extent that she is a Premier of a province. She now reinforces patriarchy and is taking a step into a history women have fought to undermine.”
Read it all here:
The public slanging match between Western Cape Premier Helen Zille and the ANC over Jacob Zuma’s sex life is evidence of the poverty of South Africa’s public debate.
The problem is thrown into sharp relief on the Internet which allows people to vent their true feelings under aliases. I have spent quite a lot time trying to understand how commentary evolves on my blog The Wild Frontier, which is quite heavily focussed on politics. Read More…