Cabinet Re-shuffle: Ramaphosa Fails Accountability Test at Every Turn

Last night’s reshuffle of cabinet by President Cyril Ramaphosa has nothing to do with improving services to ordinary South Africans. It is nothing more than a hapless cosmetic exercise aimed at sweeping Ramaphosa’s leadership failures under the rug.

Whilst begrudgingly acknowledging our security and law enforcement agencies’ failure to keep South Africans safe during the recent acts of insurrection – resulting in the death of well over 200 people, widespread looting and violence in the provinces of Kwa-Zulu Natal and Gauteng – Ramaphosa has once again failed South Africans by appointing a toothless panel to look into these failures and the coordinated acts of insurrection.

If Ramaphosa was truly determined to ensure accountability, he would initiate a Judicial Commission of Inquiry into these treasonous, as ActionSA has called on him to do. Such a Commission would have the power to ensure accountability from those responsible for the death and destruction seen in KZN and Gauteng, regardless of who they are or the position they hold within the ANC and without.

The present “review panel” will not have the power to truly bring to account the Ministers in the Security cluster, including now Defence former Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, for their disastrous failure to protect peace-loving and law-abiding South Africans. Indeed, such a review is nothing more than a smokescreen designed to shield the ANC’s top brass from real accountability.

The President has a sworn constitutional duty to ensure that these acts of treason are dealt with in a manner deserving of their seriousness. The President cannot hide from this duty. He must ensure that all of those who were involved in the recent insurrectionist acts are exposed and criminally prosecuted for their attempt to undermine our constitutional order.

The President must establish an independent Judicial Inquiry, led by a senior Judge, that must seek to establish:

  • The identity of the ring-leaders from the ANC and wherever else they may come from, who are responsible for the coordinated attacks on communities;
  • Establish the culpability of senior ANC members and politicians in inciting acts of violence and destruction;
  • Who funded the operation of these coordinated attacks;
  • Whether any current and former members of the South African Police Service (SAPS), South African National Defence Force (SANDF), or our intelligence apparatus supported the insurrection;
  • Examine the impact of the security cluster’s failure to timeously address violence on the wellbeing of residents’ lives and livelihoods in KZN and Gauteng; and
  • Make recommendations for criminal prosecutions for those implicated in these coordinated attacks, where appropriate.

If President Ramaphosa is serious about holding his party accountable for their incompetent leadership and criminal actions, this can only be achieved by a proper judicial inquiry. This said South Africans have every reason to not trust the President’s resolve. Instead of ensuring that the disgraced Zweli Mkhize is held accountable for his part in the Digital Vibes corruption scandal, the President saw it fit to praise the now-former Health Minister who allegedly siphoned money from the Health Department during a pandemic, some of which was used to fund a beauty parlour of sorts.

Instead of firing Minister Bheki Cele for his failure to keep South Africans safe during the recent acts of looting and violence, Cele was allowed to escape the axe. Despite her colossal failure, the former Minister of Defence, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula is set to be “re-deployed” to what is likely to be yet another cushy position.

Corruption will also be making an unwelcome reappearance within Ramaphosa’s cabinet with the appointment of Enoch Godogwana as the Minister of Finance minister. In 2012, Godogwana vacated his position as Deputy Minister of Economic Development after he was fingered in scandal for allegedly defrauding clothing factory workers millions of their pension money. The nation has not forgotten.

Last night’s reshuffle of cabinet Ministers is nothing more than an extension of the on-going factionalism within the ANC and an attempt by Ramaphosa to shore up support for himself. Ramaphosa continues to fail South Africans by failing to act decisively and in support of transparent, accountable, and corruption-free governance.

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