We do things slowly in government

2010-05-02 09:42

In an interview with City Press, President Jacob Zuma says he’d like to see delivery on government policy speeded up.

What is your take on the state of ­government now that you are

­finishing a year in office?

I think the sense of urgency in ­government is very much alive.

We’ve been able to give a very clear direction about what we think needs to be

done and we can say we are satisfied that it has gone very well.

Are there any areas of concern for you?

The reconfiguration of government helped but the area that has

always been of concern is implementation. I have concerns that government moves

very slowly. My view is that we should change the speed at which government does


What is your take on the state of race relations in the

country, especially in light of recent tensions in the wake of Eugene

Terre’Blanche’s murder?

It is important to say we defeated ­racism in South Africa when we

arrived at our freedom. Our Constitution, I think, is a dominating the state of

things in the country.

What we tend to do is exaggerate things and therefore create an

impression that racism is still a huge problem. The relations are growing very

well and the interactions are growing very well.

There has been talk of a reshuffle ­because Tourism

Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk has been nominated for a top United Nations job

and ­Deputy Health Minister Molefi Sefularo has passed away.

We also heard recently that Sports Minister Makhenkesi

Stofile could be affected.

We have not discussed a reshuffle at all. As you correctly said,

there is a ­deputy minister who has passed away.

 That place has to be closed.

This might lead to somebody either shifting positions or a new deputy minister

being ­appointed.

If at all the tourism minister is employed in the position we are

talking about we should be happy.

If he gets employed it’s not because we are

sitting and planning to reshuffle and then perhaps we conspired with the


At the launch of the HIV-testing campaign you disclosed

your status. That was bold. What prompted you to come out publicly about your


Are you suggesting I’m not bold? (laughs)

Not at all. We are just curious.

I thought it was important for me to make the announcement and do

something that we have not done before. I announced my status to help people

psychologically to see that this is not a death sentence.

I must emphasise that your status is your confidential matter. Know

it as an individual so you know how to behave.

We have less than 44 days to go before the World Cup but

we are still facing the spectre of service delivery protests and discontent in

the taxi industry about its inclusion.

Are you not worried that protests may disrupt what has

been a good project so far?

What we have been saying – and I think all South

Africans are aware of it – is that once the tournament begins they will know how

to handle those ­matters.

This should not be the biggest fear that we have. I can say that

you will see very little of that, if at all.

You cannot sell your country negatively and I’m sure they know


We assume that will also apply to the taxi industry?

Everybody, including the taxi industry. To them that

will be the time of boom in terms of activities.

That’s when they should make ­money. That’s what they should do.

That is more beneficial.

Turning to the ruling party, we get a sense that the ANC

has no clear position on Chancellor House’s investment in Hitachi.

Gwede Mantashe has said there has to be clarity on

political party funding and the treasurer has said something else.Can you clarify where the ANC stands on this matter?

Do you want me to enter the fray? (laughs)

No, we don’t want you to enter the fray, we just need

clarity, Mr President.

I don’t know what you want me to say because I think

the ANC knows ­exactly what it is doing.

There is no law that debars the ANC in establishing Chancellor

House and Chancellor House investing.

What I have heard, particularly the opposition talking about, are

moral questions.

The question of the ANC trying to raise money for itself is a

decision that was taken otherwise there would be no Chancellor House.

To me the question is why this issue is raised as though the ANC

has broken the law.

The broader ethical question is: Is it desirable for a

company owned by a ruling party to have business deals with the state?

The ANC has no control over how ­Hitachi deals with

its own things as a company.

I think the matter is being overstretched because we could be

having dealings with other companies and one day they might have something to do

with some companies, and at some point those companies might have something to

do with parastatals.

What happened to the study government commissioned about

three years ago into the psychology of violent crime? Why was it never made

public and have you seen it?

I haven’t seen that report either so I wouldn’t be

able to answer your question.

There were reports that you snubbed big business and

that you intervened in the issue of Brian Molefe. Is that true? (see page 2 of

Business section)

I have never snubbed any business. I don’t know

where you get this that I intervened in Brian Molefe’s issue.

As far as I know he took a decision to leave PIC (Public Investment

Corporation) and he has not changed his mind.


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