Adriaan Basson

10 things Ramaphosa should do immediately

2018-02-15 09:01
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. (File, Netwerk24)

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. (File, Netwerk24)

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President-in-waiting Cyril Ramaphosa will have no chill after being sworn in as head of state on Thursday.

His first call of duty will be finalising the State of the Nation Address to be delivered on Friday night. The speech needs to give South Africans hope – for a better future, economic growth and severe anti-corruption measures.

After brainstorming with my colleagues at News24, we came up with a list of ten things Ramaphosa should immediately do to set the right tone and show that he is not only a man of words, but action.

1. Fire Bathabile Dlamini

The minister of social development has overseen the destruction of our social welfare payments system and is a legal delinquent. She can no longer be trusted to oversee this critical government function.

Ramaphosa should dig deep to find the appropriate person for this portfolio. In the interest of “unity”, he will probably not make wholesale changes to his cabinet, but this is the one portfolio that urgently needs a new minister.

We have three suggestions: Barbara Creecy, currently the Gauteng finance MEC, Angie Motshekga, minister of basic education, or Senzo Mchunu, the former KwaZulu-Natal premier who has a reputation for getting things done.

This is a critical government function and a permanent solution needs to be found soon.

2. Fire Mosebenzi Zwane

The minister of mineral resources is probably the most captured of all the Gupta ministers in former president Jacob Zuma’s cabinet.

A former MEC who oversaw the Estina farm transaction (for which he will probably be arrested or questioned), Zwane’s first task in his portfolio was to ensure that the Guptas acquire the Optimum mine from Glencore.

Ngoako Ramatlhodi would be a great choice to replace him – he was booted from this portfolio when he objected to state capture and has deep knowledge of the intricacies this position requires.

3. Fire Bongani Bongo

The minister of state security has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. He allegedly tried to bribe the leader of evidence in the state capture inquiry and has been implicated by the Hawks in a corruption investigation in Mpumalanga.

Bongo was a backbencher plucked from obscurity when Zuma appointed him in this sensitive portfolio.

With all the mopping up that this portfolio and the State Security Agency need, Ramaphosa needs a loyal, trusted and experienced cadre to steer the spooks.

We suggest he considers Pravin Gordhan or Mondli Gungubele, who both serve on the ad hoc committee into state capture at public enterprises. Mchunu would also make a good intelligence minister.

4. Fire Faith Muthambi

Another Zupta loyalist, the minister of public service and administration is a Zuma sycophant who doesn’t deserve to be in cabinet.

The Guptaleaks showed how she passed on classified documentation to the family.

This ministry needs a diligent bureaucrat who has nerves of steel and can negotiate with the unions like a pro.

We have two suggestions for Ramaphosa: Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma or Motshekga. Ramaphosa will have to find a place for Dlamini-Zuma in cabinet and this position will keep her busy and out of harm’s way.

5. Fire David Mahlobo

As minister of energy, David Mahlobo was tasked by Zuma to get the nuclear deal through. This will no longer happen under Ramaphosa's administration and Mahlobo, a stooge who ran intelligence for Zuma before he was reshuffled, is no longer needed.

We suggest that Ramaphosa merge the mineral resources and energy portfolios into one department and ministry, headed by Ramatlhodi.

6. Move Fikile Mbalula

Despite his youthful energy, Mbalula is unfortunately not of the right calibre to steer Ramaphosa’s anti-corruption ship as head of police.

Ramaphosa will probably need to retain Mbalula in cabinet, but he needs a new police minister who is strong and skilled enough to deal with the country’s massive challenges of crime.

Bheki Cele, the former police commissioner, is an obvious candidate, but he carries baggage from his stint as police chief which may be off-putting to Ramaphosa. 

Thabang Makwetla, Jackson Mthembu and Gungubele are others he should consider.

7. Fire Shaun Abrahams and appoint a new NPA boss

Ramaphosa has already been given the legal authority by the North Gauteng High Court to appoint the head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), because Zuma was conflicted over his own corruption case.

The court found the appointment of Shaun Abrahams as National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) was irregular, but Zuma and the NPA are appealing the matter.

Ramaphosa should immediately withdraw the appeal and appoint a competent NDPP. There are lots of excellent lawyers in the country – Ramaphosa can pick and choose.

Some names that came up during our brainstorm were Vusi Pikoli, Thuli Madonsela, Gerrie Nel, Dumisa Ntsebeza and Glynnis Breytenbach.

8. Fire Tom Moyane and appoint a new SARS boss

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) suffered immensely under Zuma and saw the departure of numerous skilled and dedicated officials after Tom Moyane – a Zuma loyalist – was appointed as commissioner.

Ramaphosa needs to urgently get rid of Moyane and find a new SARS head that will restore confidence in the organisation and attract skilled investigators, analysts and IT specialists.

It would be very symbolic and hugely beneficial if Ramaphosa could appoint someone from the Gordhan-era at SARS to succeed Moyane.

9. Cancel the nuclear deal and embrace green energy

Ramaphosa has already been quoted that we cannot afford nuclear energy. He now needs to very publicly announce the cancellation of the entire acquisition process for nuclear and that government will be investing in more renewable energy over the next decade.

Our electricity consumption has decreased significantly and there is no longer the need for large, dirty and expensive nuclear plants. Ramaphosa needs to make sure his announcement is translated into Russian.

10. Establish anti-corruption unit

For Ramaphosa to deal effectively and swiftly with corruption, he will have to set up a mechanism for people to reveal and expose corruption. This may include a small amnesty period for wrongdoers to fully disclose their deeds and pay back the money looted from state coffers.

As talented as some Hawks investigators may be, the unit is simply not efficient to unravel and investigate a decade of looting and plunder at government departments and parastatals.

Ramaphosa will need someone like Pikoli or Robert McBride to set up a strong and well-staffed anti-corruption unit outside of the police. 

- Basson is editor of News24. Follow him on Twitter @adriaanbasson.

Read more on:    bathabile dlamini  |  cyril rampahosa  |  jacob zuma  |  government  |  anc
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