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12 May 2009 12:05
The African National Congress (ANC) on Tuesday commended the Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) for making available its president, Pieter Mulder, to serve in President Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet.
“We do not take such an important gesture lightly. We believe it will ensure that a diversity of views is represented in the government,” said ANC spokesperson Jessie Duarte in a statement.
Zuma named Mulder as deputy minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries when he announced his Cabinet on Sunday.
The move sparked criticism from the youth wing of Mulder’s party.
Its leader Cornelius Jansen van Rensburg said Mulder had accepted the post without the approval of his party.
However, Jansen Van Rensburg was subsequently suspended by the party pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing against him for issuing the media release in which he made the comments against Mulder.
The DA accused Mulder of putting “pension before principle” and of betraying opposition party voters.
ANC alliance partner the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) welcomed Mulder saying his appointment showed that Afrikaners could contribute to the country’s economy.
The ruling party assured the 34-strong Cabinet of its “unwavering support” and congratulated its Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe for taking up the number two spot in government.
Zuma also announced the re-structuring of Cabinet with some departments split as well as the addition of new bodies such as the National Planning Commission, to be headed by Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel, and the Performance Monitoring and Evaluation and Administration, to be led by another Minister in the Presidency, Collins Chabane.
“The ANC welcomes the re-organisation of Cabinet and national departments to achieve better alignment and coordination, the electoral mandate as per the ANC election manifesto, and the developmental challenges that face the country,” Duarte said.
“Our people have high expectations on the ANC government to deliver on these promises and we dare not fail them.
Farmers union Agri SA welcomed the division of the agriculture and land affairs ministry in two.
“... [Agri SA] is of the opinion that it would contribute towards a sharper focus on agriculture’s core function, namely competitive and sustainable production of food and fibre.
“In particular, Agri SA is looking forward to a constructive working relationship with Ms Tina Joemat-Pettersson [Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries] and her deputy, Dr Pieter Mulder.
“Agri SA also wishes to congratulate Mr Gugile Nkwinti on his appointment as Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform. He will have the difficult task of giving effect to a very complex mandate,” it said in a statement on Tuesday.
The union said there were many problems facing the agriculture sector and rural development and Zuma’s administration could start with a clean slate where new approaches and solutions were needed.
“Agriculture is fortunate in the sense that it has already agreed upon a basis for dialogue and cooperation between sector role-players and the government in terms of the Strategic Plan for South African Agriculture,” it said.
This plan would be used as a point of reference in discussions with the newly appointed ministers on challenges and issues such as infrastructure, market access and border protection.
The union welcomed Zuma’s willingness to cooperate across political lines and wished him and his Cabinet success in addressing South Africa’s economic and social challenges.—Sapa
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