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Richard Cypher
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Some thoughts on South Africa post-2014

27 May 2014, 09:34

With our esteemed, honourable president announcing his new and improved Cabinet to the world, I thought I should poke around in the details and see what pops up. According to StatsSA:

Males were 48.7% of the population and females 51.3%, while the pool of Ministers comprises 57.1% and 42.9% respectively. As can be seen, the ration is slowly but surely being pulled in the right direction, but males still make up the clear majority.

When it comes to racial breakdown (shock and horror, he used the r-word!!!), we have the following picture:

  1. Blacks are 80% of Cabinet Ministers and 79.2% of the population. This is a slight over-representation, but surprisingly slight to be honest.

  2. Coloureds are 8.6% of Cabinet Ministers and 8.9% of the population. This is an under-representation, but a surprisingly small under-representation give the typical “too black for the old SA and too white for the new SA” status that most Coloured folk suffer under.

  3. Indians are 5.7% of Cabinet Ministers and 2.5% of the population, which is quite a big over-representation, but one that has always been present in the new SA.

  4. Whites are 5.7% of Cabinet Ministers and 8.9% of the population, which is a not entirely unsurprising under-representation.

  5. Others are not part of Cabinet Ministers and 0.5% of the population. Hey, it was in the census, I had to account for it.

It seems the ANC is actually capable of learning and at least on the face of it in the higher echelons of Government, the demographics of the country is more or less represented. The quality of the deployed cadres is a topic of another discussion altogether.

So it seems that the ANC is making some of the right noises for the next 5 years.

But… And there is always a but.

The ANC is making all the wrong noises with how they apparently want to run Parliament with the appointment of Baleka Mbete as Speaker in the place of Max Sisulu. Max clearly took his job as Speaker too seriously. It is also clear the ANC feels somewhat beleaguered after the election and they need to protect themselves at all costs.

Baleka Mbete is clearly there to protect ANC interests at all costs. This is someone who was too busy to stand in a queue like the rest of us for a driver’s licence, who suspended an opposition MP for enquiring about a theft allegation against a sitting Minister (remember old Manto??), who abused travel privileges and who is currently being investigated for bribery in the USA.

The ANC might have got the racial mix more or less right with the Cabinet, but they are making their intentions clear with their style of government: corruption gets wiped under the rug and then rewarded, poor performance gets rewarded and any challenges against them will be dealt with ruthlessly.

I sincerely hope I am wrong on this one.

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