Cape Town - President Cyril Ramaphosa has to act quickly in removing institutional uncertainty and restoring the independence of SA’s institutions, says political commentator Justice Malala.
He was speaking at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Friday at a breakfast discussion of Ramaphosa's State of the Nation Address.
Other speakers included political commentator and journalist Stephen Grootes and scenario planner and strategist Clem Sunter.
Malala unpacked the tasks Ramaphosa has to address as the new SA president. Malala said that over the years Ramaphosa has shown that he is a leader that stands on principle. “I’m feeling positive about that, but that does not mean that I am blindly saying he is going to succeed without real challenges ahead,” said Malala.
“I believe he has acted fast on some issues. But the continued mess at the South African Revenue Service (SARS) points to the mess at other institutions, and he needs to act quickly in that regard.
“I am amazed that the commissioner at SARS (Tom Moyane) has still not been fired or suspended. It is just extraordinary and it needs to happen soon,” said Malala.
Malala said that SARS needs a commissioner like Pravin Gordhan, who held the role between 1999 and 2009.
This week the Business Day reported that Moyane’s head may be on the chopping block. According to the report Cabinet was due to discuss Moyane's removal and would possibly replace him with former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas.
But Moyane told Fin24 that he was unaware of the reports.
On Friday Daily Maverick’s investigative unit Scorpio reported that Moyane allegedly approved three VAT funds amounting to R70m to a third party, Terbium Financial Services, on behalf of Gupta-owned Oakbay Investments.
SARS on Friday afternoon released a statement that slammed the report as trying to discredit Moyane. “SARS wishes to state categorically that the allegations linking Mr Moyane to the refund payment are malicious, disingenuous and part of the well-orchestrated agenda to discredit him.”
Clean-up at NPA, PP office and Cabinet
Malala shared views that Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane also be relieved of her position. “It is shocking that this public protector is still in office," he said.
Malala added that Ramaphosa should appoint a head at the National Prosecuting Authority Like Advocate Thuli Madonsela.
He stressed that Ramaphosa should restore the independence of these institutions.
Malala commended Ramaphosa for reshuffling his Cabinet. However, he said that Ramaphosa could do better than just introducing changes to the three economic portfolios; public enterprise, finance and mineral resources.
Bathabile Dlamini who was caught up in the chaos of the social grant payments during her time as social development minister retained a spot in Cabinet as Ramaphosa appointed her Minister for Women in the Presidency.
“It boggles the mind that someone like Bathabile Dlamini is still in Cabinet,” said Malala.
He shared hopes that Ramaphosa would find ways to trim the Cabinet of its more than 70 ministers and deputy ministers. “The EFF and DA will continue to have something to play around with if Cabinet does not fix it," Malala warned.
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