/ 15 January 2014

Report cards: Zuma and eight ministers must go, says DA

Beeld editor Adriaan Basson speaks to us about the latest revelations in the Guptas' Waterkloof landing scandal.
Beeld editor Adriaan Basson speaks to us about the latest revelations in the Guptas' Waterkloof landing scandal.

President Jacob Zuma and eight of his Cabinet ministers have performed so badly in their jobs they should be fired, according to the official opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA).

The DA scored Zuma and eight ministers an F on the 2013 Cabinet report card. The party said on the card that E and F grades mean the member has no clear vision or has a vision that is fundamentally problematic.

Their implementation is poor; they show disdain for accountability and parliamentary oversight; and their department is in administrative and financial shambles, it says.

The DA listed five "major crises" under Zuma's term of office. These are rampant corruption, the Nkandla scandal, Guptagate, Masibambisane and the refusal to release the so-called spy tapes.

"President Zuma's biggest failure in office has been his inability to effectively grow the economy. Linked to this has been his lack of political will to break the ideological gridlock between his government and ANC affiliates, which has effectively blocked any meaningful economic reforms and entrenched policy uncertainty," said the DA.

The DA states that while there is no question that life in South Africa is better today than it was under apartheid, Zuma was reversing the progress made during the administrations that preceded his term of office.

Motion of no confidence
DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said there were a number of reasons she challenged Zuma in 2012 to step down from office. 

"It is the reason eight opposition parties in Parliament initiated a motion of no confidence against the president for his failure to lead South Africa in the way that is required of him by the Constitution of the republic.

"It is also the reason that, should the public protector's report find that he misled Parliament or violated the executive ethics code on the Nkandlagate scandal, I will table a resolution in the National Assembly to have President Zuma impeached," she said.

"Any objective view of whether or not President Zuma has delivered effectively as a president will conclude that he has failed dismally. He has been at the head of the rot which has been taking place in his Cabinet."

"There have been a few rays of sunshine such as when he has fired various ministers around the political turbulence surrounding Mangaung but all of that has been politically driven rather than performance driven. It's a perfectly fair assessment of his term of office to say that he has failed," said Mazibuko.

Despite producing the highest matric pass rate ever, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga obtained a D from the DA.

Questioned by journalists on Motshekga's average grade, DA caucus chairperson Dr Wilmot James defended the party, saying they were not being excessively harsh on her.

"We believe she is in the right direction in terms of policy; we believe she has stood up to Sadtu [the South African Democratic Teachers Union] but … she hasn't stood up to Sadtu enough because what she needs to do is to claim back moral authority over political management of education in this country and she has not succeeded in doing that," said James.

He said they would like to see a stronger incarnation of Motshekga in the basic education ministry after the elections.

"Her ministry is responsible for policy and for dealing with interests of education at national level.

"Most of the delivery happens provincially, that's where the problems have been when it comes to questions for examples of markers' quality."

Women's rights
An "appalling parliamentary engager, who is vicious towards her portfolio committee", the Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities Lulu Xingwana received an E this year.

"She's done a lot [more] this year [2013] to defend the rights of women and to execute on her mandate than she has in previous years.

"She has been visible and internally lobbying for the shelving of the Traditional Courts Bill and vocal on the violence against women and children," said Mazibuko.

She said while other problems remained in Xingwana's ministry like the spending on lavish trips and not focusing on the bread and butter issues of her department, the DA "felt her activism on behalf of women of South Africa is something that's worth acknowledging".

The DA had great things to say about the capability and efficiency of Public Administration and Services Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, but said her attitude stank.

"She has great strengths. She is clearly a very capable person, a very bright person, quite steadfast and robust [but] she has a slight attitude problem," said James.

He said they have noted that the finances of Sisulu's department have been reasonably managed; and the entities reporting to her such as the Public Service Commission and the government employees' medical scheme were also being well-managed.

"We were perturbed though at her stay at the Westcliff Hotel in Johannesburg for five nights at the public's expense."

Best performers
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and Science and Technology's Derek Hanekom were the best performers, both scoring As; while Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and Tourism's Marthinus van Schalkwyk received Bs.

The lowest mark of an F was given to State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele, Social Development's Bathabile Dlaini, Public Works's Thulas Nxesi, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, Mineral Resources's Susan Shabangu, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant, Economic Development's Ebrahim Patel and Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

The DA said the exercise aims to give effect to Section 92(2) of the Constitution which provides that: “Members of Cabinet are accountable collectively and individually to Parliament for the exercise of their powers and the performance of their functions.”