Hogan resigns


Former public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan has resigned as an MP following her axing from the cabinet on Sunday. She could not be reached for comment, but her partner, veteran ANC politician Ahmed Kathrada, confirmed the resignation.

She was among the nine cabinet ministers fired by President Jacob Zuma in the biggest shake-up of the executive since 1994, The Mercury newspaper reports. Hogan headed the department that oversaw state arsenal Denel and South African Airways, among others.

Yesterday, their successors, as well as a host of new deputies, were sworn in. While the new members of the executive can look forward to the perks of office, those who have received the chop will have to say goodbye to seven-figure salaries and luxury homes in two cities, to name but a few benefits.

Within 60 days, they will be expected to hand in the keys to their official residences. What they will also be saying goodbye to is a basic salary of about R1.7 million, and a car allowance of up to 70 percent of their annual salaries. Those without private homes in Cape Town, and who opt to stay on as MPs, will have to scramble for townhouses at the run-down parliamentary villages.

Also gone are their bodyguards and official drivers, although the ministerial handbook does allow for a transition phase. The state picks up the tab for their move, while some perks will remain, such as 48 single domestic business-class flights a year.

Among those who said they were not surprised by Zuma’s decision was former sports minister Makhenkesi Stofile, who said that he had wanted to retire anyway. “I asked to retire in April,” he said, “but the president probably wanted to do a comprehensive act once and for all.” Stofile said he would decide by the end of the week whether he would also retire as an MP.

Happy to go back to Parliament’s back benches is former labour minister Membathisi Mdladlana, who leaves the cabinet after more than a decade. Asked about the suspension of controversial director-general Jimmy Manyi, Mdladlana repeated that he had not “fought” with the head of his department. Mdladlana, head of the ANC’s Western Cape task team, said he was going back to the province to help organise a campaign that aimed to unseat the DA in Cape Town.

Most attention was focused on the axing of communications minister Siphiwe Nyanda, regarded as a key Zuma ally and senior member of the ANC’s security subcommittee. Nyanda said on Sunday that he respected the decision by the president. “He has the prerogative to do that,” said Nyanda.
“I am happy that I have served, and that’s all I will say.”

Axed public works minister Geoff Doidge heard the news while he was abroad. He said he would comment only once he returned to South Africa. Former water and environmental affairs minister Buyelwa Sonjica’s plans were also unclear.

The Presidency confirmed yesterday that deputy minister of international affairs Sue van der Merwe was also to stand down. Van der Merwe said that she would stay on in Parliament and hoped to play a meaningful role there. Former minister of women, children and people with disabilities Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya could not be reached.

Meanwhile, Parliament has a mini crisis as the cabinet reshuffle has stripped it of nine committee chairmen and women. Most of the committees are to meet for urgent business from Tuesday.