President Jacob Zuma has announced a re-organised Cabinet with a powerful new presidency, which he announced, saying:
“A National Planning Commission will be based in the Presidency. The NPC will be responsible for strategic planning for the country to ensure one national plan to which all spheres of government will adhere. This will enable us to take a more comprehensive view of development.”
“Comrade Trevor Manuel has been given a new structure, a very powerful structure.”
Here is President Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet as announced this afternoon: Read More…
A combination of wild speculation, wishful thinking and off-the-record briefings leads me to believe that Jacob Zuma might make these top appointments this afternoon (more on this blog after 2pm):
1. Deputy President: Kgalema Motlanthe
2. Minister in Presidency/Planning Commission: Trevor Manuel
3. Finance Minister: Pravin Gordhan
4. Defence: Tokyo Sexwale
5. Foreign Affairs: Lindiwe Sisulu
6. Safety and Security: Jeff Radebe
7. Education: Blade Nzimande
8. Health: Barbara Hogan
Finance Minister Trevor Manuel was sworn in as an MP this morning, confirming that he will take up a position in Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet.
But it is unlikely to be the position of Finance Minister. Instead, Manuel is likely to be based in Zuma’s office, running a powerful new planning commission which will aim to ramp up the effectiveness of implementation of government policies.
Manuel will have the ear of the President and, on paper, the authority to drive government’s programme with some authority over ministers.
This type of ministry has been tried before when Jay Naidoo was RDP minister based in Nelson Mandela’s presidential office and there should be some caution.
Naidoo found himself without the clout to drive the RDP programme through the departments of other ministers who guarded their turf and saw him as stealing their thunder and interfering with their ministerial authority. The whole thing failed and the RDP ministry was ultimately scrapped.
Manuel, should he assume this role, will do so under very different circumstances. He has headed up a very successful ministry and has the seniority to drive an agenda that Naidoo perhaps lacked.
He has spent many years as finance minister acutely aware of the failings of delivery ministries but has had to watch from the side-lines, confining himself to sometimes barbed comments about unnecessary “roll-overs”.
In this new position he will be able to use this knowledge to change things.
But there will be a political price for Zuma. His left allies in the trade unions and SACP will see the effective promotion of Manuel to uber-minister as a slap in the face.
Zuma has probably made the calculation that his number one priority is to show that he can run an effective administration and that he will find other ways to mollify his allies.
Following on my earlier post, The five biggest mistakes of the new South Africa, here is my promised look at the up side of post-apartheid South Africa.
1. THE ELIMINATION OF INSTITUTIONALISED DISCRIMINATION
The formal end of apartheid in 1994 was a symbolic act. Over the next ten years, the new government had to work very hard to undo the legislative scrambled egg to place all citizens on an equal footing, enjoying the same basic rights. Masses of legislation made their way through parliament under Nelson Mandela, opening up education to all, allowing access to health facilities and removing obstacles to movement and involvement in the economy. This was a huge accomplishment which, accompanied by a massive campaign around reconciliation, was without the rancour – except for among a small portion of the beneficiaries of apartheid – that such transformation could have attracted. The lives of millions of South Africans were instantly touched by this legislative programme which ensured the legitimacy of the new state with the majority of the people. Read More…
THE Public Investment Corporation wants over R84 million it loaned to a National Union of Metalworkers investment company back.
The money was lent just over a year ago to enable the union fund to acquire Doves Group Holdings.
But the PIC has now gone to court to recover the money, alleging that it was mismanaged by the investment company’s chief executive Tony Kgobe and by a director, John Tarpey.
This is a matter of grave importance to all South Africans because the pensions of government workers will be affected.
The PIC, which answers to the Finance Minister, Trevor Manuel, manages an astonishing R719 billion in pension fund assets, including the Government Employees Pension Fund which has well over a million members.
Questions should be asked of the Numsa Investment Corporation which has, in turn prejudiced the funds of union members with an apparently mismanaged investment.
But questions must also be asked of the PIC, which lent money to an institution that has no track record to speak of.
The NIC subsidiary which is in the spotlight is called “Brevity” — somewhat appropriately given the scarcity of information on its dealings.
A search by The Times shows that there is no trading history for Brevity on the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office database.
Who in the PIC made the decision to lend this money and have they been brought to book? Manuel and the PIC must investigate and provide the public with answers.
And there must be a proper criminal investigation into the alleged mismanagement of the money by the NIC which must, if necessary, result in prosecutions.
There are few crimes for heinous than taking money from pensioners.