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Hubert Khobane
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Shifts an indication to where the power lies

31 May 2014, 12:35

The shifts made are an indication to where the power lies!

Jacob Zuma’s new cabinet is in reaction to the ever changing political terrain that the ANC is trying to prevent. It show which power blocks are growing and which is diminishing. The battle is also increasing about who may know what. Four changes are of great importance here:

Firstly, almost a third of the ANC MP’s – 72 out of the 242 – have been promoted to the executive body within the ANC. This being an effort to reward certain factions and remind them of the fact that positions in government is becoming the ‘glue that is keeping the ruling party intact’.

This does not predict anything good for the democratic principle of separation of powers in the next five years. If a critical mass of the ruling MP’s are in the executive body, they will not promote parliamentary oversight over the same power. What aggravates the situation is that the majority of the top executive party leaders are within the executive body, rather than in parliament. Executive leaders would have strengthened parliament and balanced power within. During the tenure of Thabo Mbeki, the presidency was extended, which has a consequence that all eyes are on the direction that the MP’s strive for.

The second fact of great importance is the exclusion of Martinus van Schalkwyk and Pieter Mulder. Zuma was by implication forced to cut somewhere along the lines. But it rather shows that the ANC is now less concerned about the powerful Afrikaner nationalistic bloc. Acceptance has dawned on them that most Afrikaans speaking voters are now actually voting for the DA.

The third fact of importance is for whom ‘place was made’. The new Deputy Minister of Labour, Patekile Holomisa, is a known campaigner for a patriotic ethic chauvinistic form of “Afrikaner culture’. In his 23 years as President of Controlesa (Congress for Traditional Leaders in South Africa) the congress has grown from a political equivalent to a most important Zuma-faction. Controlesa applied the constitutional shift of culture with a number of legislations that strengthened their power. Now they have someone in the executive power.

The portfolio rural development and land reform now gets two deputy ministers, which is another fact of rural support for the ANC. The present tendency in civil service departments is for money to be spent on personnel rather than on land restitution. Over the next three years there is less money available for land restitution due to the transfer of the national budget to ‘households’.

Fourthly room was made for the new minister of communication, “Propaganda” being the more appropriate word to use. The effort of Zuma in his first term of office to limit the flow of information is being extended. The Minister would be responsible for communication, marketing and branding for the ‘informed populism’ and the encouragement of investments, everything all in one. The Ministry is being formed out of the SABC, ICASA and the Media Diversity Agency, Brand SA and the Governments Communication and Information system. But the SABC has to remain impartial in its role as public broadcaster. To have grouped all of these together with government communicators and marketing, predicts the undermining of their individual functions.

Someone that would have been of value here is the key MP Luwellyn Landers, to implement the act of protection of state information = that is now when he is in the country: his reward for his role in the protection of state information being his post as deputy minister of international relati0ns.

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