Govt change: New faces on official walls soon

2008-10-03 00:00

Democracy can be a costly business. Take the recent reshuffle in government and the cost of having to change all those official portraits of the president, deputy president and some cabinet ministers in government, provincial and municipal offices throughout the country. All of this will have to change again in six months’ time, when new leaders come into office after the 2009 election.

However, general consensus is that this is a small price to pay for democracy.

Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Sandra Botha says national symbols are important and have to reflect the government of the day.

Works Department spokesman Lucky Mochalibane said a directive has already gone out to government departments to remove the official photographs of former president Thabo Mbeki and his deputy Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and replace them with new incumbents President Kgalema Motlanthe and Deputy President Baleka Mbete.

Mochalibane said the Government Communication and Information Services (GCIS) started distributing the new photographs yesterday.

A quick survey of local government offices showed that most offices had removed Mbeki’s photographs, leaving gaps waiting to be filled within the next week.

GCIS spokesman Harold Maloka confirmed that the photographs are ready.

He could not say how many had been produced, but he said it was fortunately not a large-scale reshuffle, so not many new photographs had to be taken.

Maloka was also convinced that the entire process was not too costly — though he was not prepared to hazard a guess, saying he was out of the office.

He said the entire production is done in-house by the GCIS and does not go out to tender.

“We have a unit that deals with this as there are changes in government as ministers move around. Different photographs are also taken from time to time to update records.”

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