Dlamini-Zuma’s new job is a perfect fit

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s ability to identify problems and solve them, coupled with her diplomatic skills and determination, may be what’s needed to make the monitoring and evaluation ministry work.

Dlamini-Zuma’s predecessor, Jeff Radebe, has been criticised by, among others, the Democratic Alliance for being ineffective, failing to go beyond conducting imbizos and responding to crises after they had escalated.

Febe Potgieter-Gqubule, who served as Dlamini-Zuma’s deputy chief of staff at the African Union Commission (AUC), said her spearheading of long-term AU initiatives was an indication of her ability to devise and manage long-term strategy. Implementation mechanisms Dlamini-Zuma had driven, such as the member state levy and the alignment of member state budgets to include Agenda 2063 funding, were still working after her departure, Potgieter-Gqubule said.

“She also has 18 years of experience in South Africa’s government from a front-line department like health to Dirco [department of international relations and co-operation] and home affairs and has performed well in all three portfolios,” she said. “She has the understanding that governance is not about ticking boxes but about its impact on people.”

Dlamini-Zuma is credited with a series of successes at the health department, where she served between 1994 and 1999. She served two terms as international relations minister, from 1999 to 2009. Her third ministerial term, at home affairs, was cut short in 2012 when she was seconded to the AUC, where she served a five-year term as chairperson.

Nomfanelo Kota, the former director of media liaison at international relations, said Dlamini-Zuma’s ability to “bring warring parties together” and her willingness to consult those whose views would normally be ignored would assist in the new post.

“She also works very hard. There is no knocking off at 4.30pm and going home. She can start a meeting at 7pm and go through to 1am without batting an eyelid. Her staff won’t sleep,” Kota said.

Dlamini-Zuma’s new role gives her responsibility for evaluating, planning and monitoring government programmes to improve service delivery.

The department, which also oversees the National Youth Development Agency, has had clean audits every year since 2013-2014, but its critics say it replicates the functions of other departments and the Public Service Commission. Her department is also seen as ineffective because of legislative weaknesses.

The DA’s spokesperson on the presidency, Sej Motau, said her biggest challenge was that her ministry “has no teeth” to sanction dysfunctional departments or officials who were not performing. “The department is supposed to monitor and evaluate other government departments but, unfortunately, as the legislation stands now, they can only plead with people to do what they are supposed to do.”

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper

Related stories


Subscribers only

Poachers in prisons tell their stories

Interviews with offenders provide insight into the structure of illegal wildlife trade networks

Covid-overflow hospital in ruins as SIU investigates

A high-level probe has begun into hundreds of millions of rand spent by the Gauteng health department to refurbish a hospital that is now seven months behind schedule – and lying empty

More top stories

Covid will decide if home refurb boom continues

If herd immunity is reached and life returns to ‘normal’, people may switch spending to things they gave up and the desire to DIY may subside

False hope of  ‘miracle’ remedies

Some people believe a drug used to treat parasites is a Covid cure. But science, not social media, is the only way to determine its efficacy

Luxor Paints loses CCMA case, must pay workers R40-m in...

Some of the 181 workers were dismissed for carrying sticks during a strike, others were dismissed even though they weren’t at the picket, but were deemed guilty by association

Covid-19 on the rise in Zimbabwe

The South African variant of the virus is ‘clinically present’, while a lockdown tries to limit new infections

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…