Hurrah at the exodus of useless ministers

2008-10-04 00:00

I have always maintained that politicians are a special breed that, despite their different political homes, all grow from the same tree. You only have to look at how opposition parties have consistently disagreed with the ruling African National Congress on countless issues in Parliament but when it came to their salary increases, they unanimously agreed. This is despite the exorbitant salary packages they already enjoy and despite them being highly critical of what has become an annual public service strike during these treacherous economic times.

When the exodus of Thabo Mbeki ministers started, I could not help but be relieved because most of them were useless anyway, especially with the latest revelations about the performance of some of them.

Former Minister of Defence Mosiuoa “Terror” Lekota’s departure was his loss and the government’s gain because he left the department in tatters with a high vacancy rate and a chaotic administration. You just have to look at how he forced Mbeki’s list down the throat of ANC parliamentarians. No wonder he was nicknamed “Terror” on the soccer pitch because he is a bully. Despite all his flaws, he continued to enjoy protection from another bully, “Mafioso” Mbeki.

It has emerged that former public enterprise minister Alec “Sabotage” Erwin paid South African Airways chief Khaya Ngqula R20 million in salaries and bonuses for the past four years and for what? For coming back to plead for financial bail-outs at the beginning of each financial year?

When Eskom’s senior leadership approached then Minister of Minerals and Energy Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka in 1997 about a looming power shortage, she rejected their claims by telling them that beefing up electricity supplies at the time was not a priority. Little is known about the role Mlambo-Ngcuka played as the country’s deputy president during her three-year stint, if any at all.

Despite these ministers’ despicable records in cabinet, opposition parties have continued to point fingers at the ANC for being the catalyst of the exodus, even though some of these ministers were a burden to the work of the government.

Obviously opposition parties are after votes, hence blaming the ANC for some of the bravest decisions ever taken in any African democracy with no civil war taking place, except the subtle rattles in the markets.

As it was in the Mbeki era, this country does not need individuals to run the country because no one should be seen as indispensable, as both Mbeki and finance minister Manuel wanted us to believe. If I did not know better, I would have said Manuel is trying to hold, not just the new government, but the whole country to ransom.

Because Mbeki has served the ANC for more than 50 years, the only job he’s had, he thought he was the ANC — until the party gave him a rude awakening.

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