Mixed reaction to Cabinet reshuffle

2010-11-01 14:22

Johannesburg - Reaction to President Jacob Zuma's Cabinet reshuffle, which saw seven ministers axed, ranged on Monday from "decisive" to "disingenuous".

United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa said there was no basis for the argument it was intended to address service delivery.

"The only realistic analysis of the reshuffle is that it is intended to address ANC internal politics," Holomisa said.

"It is also disingenuous to claim that these changes are intended to address service delivery.

"The major service delivery departments continue with the same ministers, even though they are the cause of greatest concern and frustration to most South Africans."

He said change was really needed in the departments of education, local government and housing.

Non-performing ministers escaped the axe

African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) president Kenneth Meshoe said his party could only hope the reshuffle would improve delivery.

"We nevertheless are surprised by what we believe to be non-performing ministers who escaped the axe," said Meshoe.

But others were more optimistic.

The SA Communist Party's spokesperson Malesela Maleka said Zuma's "intervention" was "an ongoing effort to strengthen implementation of the ANC-led alliance's electoral manifesto and to speed up delivery of basic services".

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said his new deputy Makhotso Magdalene Sotyu, was "an equally gutsy, committed and hard-working replacement" as her predecessor, Fikile Mbalula, the new sport and recreation minister.

"Naturally, women are caring, compassionate and soft individuals at heart. But we want to warn those scoundrels out there who may think she [Sotyu] is a softie that they better watch out," Mthethwa said.

"In Deputy Minister Sotyu, we have acquired a stalwart and a hard worker, who just like her predecessor, hates crime with passion. Therefore, 'die poppe sal nog dans' [trouble is coming]."

Mthethwa, who reportedly clashed with Mbalula behind the scenes, laid on the praise and wished him well in his new position.

"His hatred for crime and willingness to serve the nation is what nurtured his commitment during his tenure in the ministry," said Mthethwa.

"He inspired most of our police officers to carry their work with commitment, despite the challenging conditions they at times found themselves."

ANCYL welcomes appointments

The African National Congress Youth League in KwaZulu-Natal welcomed the appointments of youth league stalwarts Mbalula and Malusi Gigaba, the new public enterprises minister.

"Youth League graduates will never disappoint in their responsibilities," the provincial ANCYL said.

Black Management Forum (BMF) president Jimmy Manyi said the reshuffle was "a clear demonstration that this administration is serious about service delivery and top performance".

"The BMF strongly believes that the decisive leadership of President Zuma is to be applauded."

Olympic governing body Sascoc welcomed Mbalula's appointment as new sport minister.

"We welcome Minister Mbalula and, as the country's sports movement we stand ready to carry out his wishes and dreams of making South Africa a sporting nation that will be respected globally," Sascoc president Gideon Sam said.

The SA Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu) was happy about the appointment of its former general secretary, Thulas Nxesi, as deputy minister for rural development and land reform.

"Nxesi is a pragmatist and true revolutionary who always fought for democracy, human rights, social justice and empowered the poor and marginalised in South Africa."

SA Democratic Students' Movement (Sadesmo) spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said the changes were an admission of guilt.

Slow pace of delivery

"The Cabinet reshuffle is a direct admission by President Zuma that government has been largely ineffective, inefficient and grossly incompetent.

"It confirms that concerns about the slow pace of service delivery were not misplaced, nor were they mere ravings and rantings about sweet nothing. The concerns were totally justified. But, I suppose, it is better late than never," said Hlengwa.

The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) extended a "warm welcome" to newly-appointed deputy health minister, Gwen Ramokgopa, saying as a healthcare professional, she understood the industry well.

"We would like to wish Dr Ramokgopa well in her new position and look forward to working with her to ensure quality healthcare for all South Africans," said acting registrar and CEO Marella O'Reilly.

The office of the ANC's chief whip said it would act "with the necessary swiftness in filling the vacant posts" in Parliament caused by the reshuffle.

In the changes announced on Sunday, seven ministers were fired, two were moved into other ministerial posts, and 14 new deputies were appointed.