DA scores Sisulu’s 2009 performance at 5/10

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The Democratic Alliance has issued its sixth annual “report card” of Cabinet and has awarded defence and military veterans minister Lindiwe Sisulu five out of 10.

As such she does better than the Cabinet average of 4.9 and her police and state security counterparts, who scored a “four” each. President Jacob Zuma mustered a low three.

By contrast finance and tourism ministers Pravin Gordhan and Marthinus van Schalkwyk scored an eight each and Science & Technology minister Naledi Pandor received a 7.5.

DA leader and Western Cape premie Helen Zille says Sisulu triumphed over unruly striking soldiers and acted wisely to can the Airbus A400M deal. “But she has compromised her score with

her dogged secretiveness.”

“When soldiers went on a violent strike in August, among other things trashing the Union Buildings, the minister made the right decisions. She took tough and decisive action against the rioting soldiers, both acting strongly against the disruptors and establishing a commission to look into members’ service conditions. She has also established a task team to make recommendations concerning military veterans.

The recent decision to terminate the acquisition of eight Airbus A400M aircraft, at the much-increased cost of R47 billion [sic], was positive and commendable. It was however, regrettable that we had to wait until information about the spiralling costs of the deal slipped out of now suspended

Armscor CEO Sipho Thomo (as a result of questioning by the DA) before the matter was tackled.

“Sisulu’s biggest failings are her intense secrecy and her apparent dislike of being held accountable. She treats Parliament with blatant disrespect. She refused to appear before Parliament herself to explain the SANDF’s state of preparedness and refused to allow departmental staff to do so either.

“We therefore still do not know, even though taxpayers spend R30 billion [sic. Actually R32 billion] a year on supporting it, whether we have a defence force that is capable of defending us. She routinely provides non-answers to parliamentary questions. The daily management of the defence department seems to be lacking. For example, in August she confirmed her appointment of Paul Ngubeni as her legal advisor – a man who left the University of Cape Town in disgrace and may never practice law again in the United States after being found guilty of seven counts of misconduct in Connecticut.

Home Affairs

As Minister of Health in the Thabo Mbeki administration, new Minister of Home Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma did not perform well, Zille says. “This was not only for inviting Aids dissidents in to run her department, butalso for the sheer chaos that prevailed in her department administratively.

“In her new portfolio she has so far stayed clear of conspiracy theories; something we should be grateful for. She has said all the right things, and she has been fairly open and consultative. She

also did not join most of her colleagues in splurging on a new car. But we have yet to see her do much other than make statements of intent. She scores 5 – a spectacular improvement on her stint as

Health Minister.

“Dlamini-Zuma is now responsible for making the turn-around strategy implemented by her predecessor work. She has promised to do so, saying ‘we have to build on those initiatives to accelerate change’. Two people have committed suicide, while under her watch, because they could not obtain the documents they needed. But this ship will take a long time to turn around and she cannot really be held responsible for this.

“She announced shortly after her appointment that she would be establishing a hotline in her office where home affairs complaints can be logged directly with her. The number for the hotline is not easy to find, but calls to it are answered promptly, and in a friendly manner.

“Dlamini-Zuma’s administrative record while Minister of Health was dismal; her department received a string of qualified opinions. Yet she has a real challenge on her hands in sorting out the

administration of the department she now runs, whose accounts the Auditor-General has also despaired of.

“With a better director-general at her new post, she may be able to improve on this. We hope so. However, there has been a depressing silence around her practical plans to manage the administrative problems of the department,” Zille said. In South Africa Home Affairs is responsible for identity management and immigration.

Foreign Affairs

Turning to foreign affairs, Zille said the new Minister of International Relations, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, “has made some marked improvements in the department and has performed better than her predecessor.”

Although policies and programmes have been inherited from the previous administration, foreign policy objectives have become somewhat clearer through the emphasis on the consolidation of the African agenda,” the DA leader added.

“In her budget vote speech, she committed herself and the department to ‘seek peace, security and development in Africa’ by strengthening regional integration by focusing on activities in the Southern African Development Community and the African Union.

“The department is auditing bi-lateral partnerships between SA and other African states in order to find ways in which to foster these relationships, politically and economically. However, her record on reacting to the actions of undemocratic governments elsewhere in the world has been mixed, and the ongoing treading of water around Zimbabwe, and other dictatorships on our doorstep, continues.

“She scores an unexceptional 4.5.”

Zille says SA supported the African Union’s position to not cooperate with the International Criminal Court’s arrest warrant for Sudanese leader Al-Bashir for crimes against humanity (including the murders of between 200 000 and 400 000 people, and rape, torture and forcible displacements in the Darfur region).

“While the department later stated that South Africa would indeed arrest al-Bashir if he were to enter South African territory, this came only after public outrage. The minister claimed her department had needed to ‘consult’ on this matter, even though the country is a signatory to the Rome Statute, making International Criminal Court decisions binding.

“Moreover, South Africa continues to host ousted Haitian leader Jean-Bertrand Aristide at a cost to the taxpayer of roughly R5 million a year. He enjoys the same privileges as a Cabinet Minister, including a car allowance, security and accommodation.

“A positive development has been a policy u-turn on Myanmar. In 2007 South Africa voted against a Security Council resolution condemning human rights abuses in this country. But in August of this year, the department condemned the decision by Myanmar authorities to convict opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on charges of subversion.

“Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Ebrahim Ebrahim said, ‘The South African government believes an opportunity for movement towards democratisation, nation building and reconciliation has been lost. Accordingly the South African government calls for

Aung San Suu Kyi’s immediate release.’

“The Minister’s most chronic failing has been her inaction on Zimbabwe. She has had very little to say about the ongoing atrocities in that country and has not made any substantial changes to the

‘quiet diplomacy’ approach,” the DA leader said.

Justice

Justice and constitional development minister Jeff Rade’s department is tasked with reforming the criminal justice system. Radebe also chairs the National Conventional Arms Control Committee that regulates SA’s defence exports.

“Jeff Radebe has positioned himself not with regard to the imperative that the justice system be defined by excellence, expertise and independence, but rather with regard to the ANC’s political

programme – a guise for cadre deployment and, ultimately, a proxy for control. For this, he scores a 3.5,” Zille said.

“His interventions at the Judicial Services Commission, where he has overseen the appointment of a number of race-obsessed cadres has been to that institution’s detriment; indeed, the JSC, as a critical mechanism central to the oversight of the justice system has been severely compromised under Radebe’s watch.

“Further, while his response to the dodgy arms deals [sic] exposed by the DA was timeous, it was not substantive. The Minister inherited this problem but, rather than act to turn the tide, his approach was to justify the NCACC’s various dealings with undemocratic countries across the world, to the detriment of SA’s international standing.

Zille also praised Radebe for a “commitment to Constitutionalism and the rule of law regarding mooted changes to section 49 of the Criminal Procedure Act (the clause governing the use of deadly force by the police). The minister insisted that any redrafting would be according to the specific requirements set by the Constitutional Court. “The police ministry has since clarified its views by stating in a reply to a DA parliamentary question that they do not wish to give police more powers, but rather want to clarify the current law.”

Policing

Zille rated police minister Nathi Mthethwa’s performance as mediocre. “Among the positive aspects of his tenure, he has agreed to reconstitute the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Units, but has been slow to get these much needed units off the ground. The shortage of bullet-proof vests is being addressed, and the number of police officers who do not have drivers’ licenses is decreasing.

“He has appointed a new Executive Director of the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) and the department is at long last reviewing legislation aimed at empowering the watchdog body. The DA has long advocated giving this body ‘teeth’ to ensure proper police oversight, but the department has been particularly slow to address this issue. The latest parliamentary reply revealed that only 10% of ICD recommendations are implemented by the SAPS.

“He also appointed a new head of the Police Secretariat who has displayed a very good work ethic,” said Zille.

“But Mthethwa was the minister who oversaw the final stages of the killing off of the Scorpions and replacing them with the Hawks. On this he has performed dismally. Only 5% Hawks employees

have been vetted so far. At this rate of 24 per month, it will take 7 years to vet all the applicants.

“There is a litany of other problems suggesting the minister is not all that serious about tackling crime. The Minister recently stated in a parliamentary reply that the SAPS would be discontinuing the use of labour brokers, Labour brokers provide essential services to a police, indeed, the minister

himself states that the use of labour broking allows ‘SAPS to focus on its core functions”.

“At the same time, there does not appear to be any suitable contingency plan in place to ensure that

all the positions are filled as they become available. Minister Mthethwa has kept a damning 400-page report into the Police Legal Services, which cost millions of Rand, under wraps. A year ago he was still ‘studying the report’, compiled by legal firm Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs. In the report the much-absent divisional commissioner Lindiwe Mtimkulu, head of legal services, was referred to as

‘autocratic’ and unable to make legal decisions as well as suffering from ‘a fundamental misunderstanding of the law and legal processes’. She has not been suspended.

“To avoid crime statistics being released prior to the election, Mthethwa reneged on his predecessor’s promise to release crime statistics twice a year. A total of 671 dockets were lost or stolen in 2008/09 – a 57% increase from the 427 that were lost or stolen last year.

“There is still no human trafficking legislation in place, despite the fact that the World Cup is on our doorstep, and we have been placed on a US watch list for non-compliance with steps to fight human trafficking,” Zille contnued.

“The Minster’s tenure has also been plagued by wasteful expenditure and controversy surrounding his lavish cars (R1.3 million) and expenditure of over R700 000 on hotel accommodation at luxury hotels in Cape Town and Durban. Front page spats and petty jealousies with his deputy have brought down the tenor of the Ministry. He also has a vast backlog of parliamentary questions that

have not been answered.

Public Enterprises

Public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan has adopted two critical positions for which she deserves credit, Zille believes.

“First, she was the outstanding exception on the Eskom issue where, both inside and outside parliament, she fought for the independence of the Eskom board in the face of a united assault by the ANC [African National Congress] and the executive to prevent the removal of CEO Jacob Maroga.

“Second, in similar fashion, she acted to ensure that the Transnet board enjoyed the same kind of independence when both the ANCYL and the ANC mobilized to prevent the suspension of Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama. For both of these stances, she scores a 7.

“There have, however, been problems. While this position may be considered one of the toughest in the cabinet (she took the reins when a number of parastatals were already in a dismal financial situation), her inability to assert control over these institutions, and to deal with various problems quickly and efficiently, is cause for concern.

“While the DA welcomed Hogan’s suggestion that unprofitable state-owned businesses should possibly be privatised, her turnaround on the matter, claiming that none of South Africa’s State-owned enterprises are for sale, shows that Hogan risks losing her independent voice and is sacrificing critical thought for the party line.

“She has done little to tackle the multitude of other management problems that have driven Eskom to its current dire financial situation. A similar situation applies to the ramshackle Transnet. While Hogan is in support of the axing of currently suspended Siyabonga Gama,Transnet CEO, following corruption charges, she has done little else to address a long list of examples of poor management and maladministration. The most recent parastatal to suspend its CEO is Armscor, is also in urgent need of sorting out. [sic. Armscor resorts under the defence department, not Hogan.]

“Against a backdrop of poor financial management, bailouts and poor fiscal discipline the evidence continues to mount that the ANC government is simply unable to manage public money or public institutions. In the seven months since her term in office began, Hogan has been unable to deliver any roadmaps for the way out of this mess. We look forward to seeing whether she will be

able to do this.”

Science & Technology

“While its early days in her new post Naledi Pandor seems to have earned the cautious confidence of the scientific community,” the DA leader says.

“She is bringing a focused toughness to the field and is asking the right questions about the challenges and efficacy of people and institutions working with government funds. But there are several problems with her administration. She scores 7.5.

“On the whole she engages well with stakeholders and shows concern and understanding about their issues. She encourages input to inform policy development. Her department is, with the Department

of Higher Education and Training, devising a science, technology and engineering human development strategy that will hopefully boost our supply of budding quality scientists.

“One of her major challenges during the coming year will be the pressure of operating on a tight budget in an expensive field. The scientific instruments in our research institutions are aging and need replacement if our scientists are to keep at the top of their game and deliver world-class research.

“Ms Pandor has made public her view that this is not the time to cut back ‘on South Africa’s investment in the future’ and that growth depends on evolving internationally competitive products from R&D [research & development].

“It’s hoped that her high rank in the Cabinet – she was recently acting president when President Zuma and Deputy President Motlanthe were simultaneously out of the country – means she can persuade her cabinet colleagues that funding science, technology and innovation is an economic growth imperative.

“She knows her subject and speaks well. Her speeches have a conversational and persuasive tone and her off-the-cuff responses to questions indicate that she’s comfortable in her new role.

“She has, unfortunately, fallen prey to the lure of expensive cars. Her Ministry has also cut funding into the HIV vaccine programme and a reasonable explanation has yet to come forward. Furthermore, her imminent appointments of two ANC cadres to the HSRC [Human Sciences Research Council] board and a person with a possible fraud case against him to the SA Space Agency board is problematic.”

State Security

“Minister of State Security Siyabonga Cwele was one of the few old-order ministers who managed to hold onto their old positions, so he has now held the position for more than a year. But the murkiness around exactly what this department gets up to remains undisturbed, and he scores a shadowy four.

“He was the Chairperson of the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence (JSCI) for many years, and he has gained enormous experience in the workings of South Africa’s Intelligence Community.

Whether this has actually translated itself into a well run department is hard to say, given the onerous secrecy that wraps itself around the department.

“He recently began a restructuring of the civilian intelligence community, through the creation of a new umbrella body – the State Security Agency – in order to ‘refocus on intelligence priorities’. He is also reviewing the white paper on intelligence. If these interventions provide for more transparent and democratic processes (such as requiring the department to table an auditor-general’s report and an annual report) then they will certainly be a good thing. But he has not shown many signs that this is the direction he is moving in.

“He has as yet not acted upon many of the highlighted points of a report drafted by a Ministerial Review Commission, which found that some laws on spying were unconstitutional and that some spy methods were not governed by legislation. This is a serious problem that we hope the Minister will address.

He also tried to intervene in the corruption trial of former national polie commissioner Jackie Selebi trial, “by bringing an application against the State to object to the subpoena and testimony of the former Intelligence Coordinator, Barry Gilder, using national security as an excuse. Gilder’s testimony allegedly would confirm the existence of a draft National Intelligence Estimate which alleged that Selebi had received payments from the Kebble family.

“From the information available and information obtained from parliamentary questions, he has demonstrated prudent expenditure of public money. The State Security community continues to be politicised, with Cwele’s controversial appointment of President Zuma’s friend, Mo Shaik, as the head of the Secret Service.

“Further to this, serious questions remain regarding how certain tape-recorded conversations of former Directorate of Special Operations (DSO) boss Leonard McCarthy and former National Director of Public Prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka were obtained by Jacob Zuma’s lawyer Michael Hulley. The Inspector-General of Intelligence made known certain elements of the investigation into this.

“However, these findings must be brought before Parliament. It is vital that the information be presented in an open forum in Parliament.

Transport

The new minister of transport, Sbu Ndebele, is responsible for the SA Maritime Safety Authority, the SA Civil Aviation Authority and the Air Traffic Navigation Service.

Zille says he “has had a couple of successes, but he has yet to produce any concrete plans to address the many problems in his department. He scores a lukewarm 5.

“Many of the entities under the Minister’s watch also find themselves technically insolvent, under-funded or badly managed, including the Road Accident Fund, South African National

Roads Agency Limited, the Cross-Border Road Transport Agency, SAMSA and the Road Traffic Management Corporation.

Cabinet

Zille says the DA recognises that Zuma has only been in government seven months. “We recognise

that some ministers are new to their portfolios and others are new to government altogether. We are also alive to the fact that some portfolios are new, some have merged and others have split. The DA’s 2009 Cabinet Report Card makes some allowance for these factors.

“Overall, Cabinet’s performance this year (an average of 4.9 out of ten for each minister) was a slight improvement on last year, where Cabinet scored 4.6 overall. This overall score, while still not

technically a ‘pass’, bodes well for the performance of ministers going forward, particularly those who are still short on experience.

“What is significant about this year’s report card is the relatively poor performance of the most senior members of Cabinet – President Zuma and Deputy President Motlanthe – who scored 3 and

5.5 respectively. Last year, the corresponding scores for the two positions were 8 and 7.

“Jacob Zuma’s presidency has been marked by a triumph of style over substance. If we were to rate him on charm alone, he would get 9 out of 10. If we were to assess him based on his commitment to the Constitution and the rule of law, he would get 1 out of 10. We settled on a generous 3 out of 10

overall.”

“Since assuming office, a yawning gap has appeared between Zuma’s words and actions. Nowhere is this more apparent, or more problematic, than his respect for the Constitution. Despite professing his loyalty to the Constitution, Zuma has shown a flagrant disregard for the constitutional limits on

his power.

“The signs were already there when he appointed cronies to top posts such as Bheki Cele as National Police Commissioner and Mo Shaik as Head of the Secret Service. The appointment of

Sandile Ncgobo as Chief Justice without first consulting leaders of opposition parties rang another warning bell. But it was the appointment of Menzi Simelane as National Director of Public

Prosecutions which exploded any myth that Zuma would respect the Constitution once in office.

“It is increasingly clear that Zuma is prepared to destroy the Constitution to advance the ANC’s interests and protect its cadres. History will judge him on this, not his warmth and affability. Zuma talks a good game on just about every area of government policy, but his performance on the field tells a different story.

“Overall, the Cabinet did not fare too badly (in comparison with previous years), with nineteen ministers out of 34 achieving a score of five or higher. That the President lags some distance behind

most of his Cabinet is cause for concern. Jacob Zuma needs to show that he is a President, not a PR machine.

“If he can close the gap between his words and his actions, he may make a positive impact on South Africa. But, to do this, he will need to make some hard choices and some frank admissions. He must start by re-affirming his commitment to the Constitution in deed as well as words.”

REPORT CARD SCORES:


Office holder

Portfolio

Score

Jacob Zuma

President

3

Kgalema Motlanthe

Deputy President

5.5

Collins Chabane

Performance Monitoring, Management and Evaluation

4.5

Trevor Manuel

National Planning

5

Tina Joemat-Pettersson

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

7

Lulama Xingwana

Arts and Culture

3.5

Angie Motshekga

Basic Education

4.5

Siphiwe Nyanda

Communications

3

Sicelo Shiceka

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

5.5

Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula

Correctional Services

4

Lindiwe Sisulu

Defence and Military Veterans

5

Ebrahim Patel

Economic Development

3

Dipuo Peters

Energy

5

Pravin Gordhan

Finance

8

Aaron Motsoaledi

Health

6.5

Blade Nzimande

Higher Education and Training

3.5

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

Home Affairs

5

Tokyo Sexwale

Human Settlements

6.5

Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

International Relations

4.5

Jeff Radebe

Justice and Constitutional Development

3.5

Membathisi Mdladlana

Labour

2.5

Susan Shabangu

Mineral Resources

3

Nathi Mthetwa

Police

4

Barbara Hogan

Public Enterprises

5

Richard Baloyi

Public Service and Administration

4.5

Geoff Doidge

Public Works

5.5

u/kGugile Nkwinti

Rural Development and Land Reform

4

Naledi Pandor

Science and Technology

7.5

Edna Molewa

Social Development

6

Makhenkhesi Stofile

Sport and Recreation

4.5

Siyabonga Cwele Score

State Security

4

Marthinus Van Schalkwyk

Tourism

8

Rob Davies

Trade and Industry

5

Sbu Ndebele

Transport

5

Buyelwa Sonjica

Water and Environment Affairs

5

Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya

Women, Children, and People with Disabilities

2.5

 

Average

4.9

 

 

 


 

 



Pic: DA leader Helen Zille giving her Cabinet scorecard at a media conference in Cape Town earlier today.