The big political chess game


Goodenough Mashego – Political analyst

The biggest challenge confronting every new leader stepping into another person’s shoes is
that they have to collaborate with a shoemaker to shape them to their style and size.

Former President Jacob Zuma’s administration was the most incompetent, aloof and unaccountable since the Apartheid government. Ministers were chopped and changed for cronyism and corrupt reasons. As the now infamous Gupta Leaks indicated that from a multi-million compound in Saxonwold ministerial and parastatal appointments were made instead of the Deployment Committee of the ruling African National Congress.

One of the tasks confronting new President Cyril Ramaphosa, as someone who sat in cabinet and who knows most of the ministers he served with, would be to get rid of dead wood and replace it with men and women who share his vision of putting South Africa and not
the ANC  first.

The exercise of strengthening his administration will obviously resemble a purge since most of those who will face the chop will be Zuma appointees. However one can foresee those facing
the chop being those whom of the public equally holds a similar consensus – that they were not good at discharging their responsibilities. They are those under whose (dead) weight, services were degraded, causing the fiscus much strain.

Standing out like sore thumbs would be Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini for mismanaging SASSA, COGTA Minister Faith Muthambi for her failures at
Communications, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Ngcakula for failing the military and its veterans, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba under whose tenure state enterprises were allegedly
compromised and Home A airs ended up in a row with Tourism and other sister departments. (Also the man who plays Candy Crush in Parliament – Ed).

Ministers cost taxpayers R790million per year

There is a long list of such ministers who did not excel in their portfolios. One can count with one hand ministers who have performed as the country crumbled, the economy slowed
down and poverty levels spiked.

Another expectation of the new president will be to scrap dysfunctional ministries.
The country can’t afford to have 72 ministers at a budget of R790 million.
A smaller, sleek cabinet is needed to restore confidence in business, investors, the markets and the public that it’s not business as usual where loyalists are rewarded with ministries and perks.

Another area that will cause much tension and expose the façade of party unity is the ongoing investigations by the Hawks into the Estina Dairy Farm collapse in Vrede in the Free
State which has already claimed a couple of scalps. As in any big investigation some
suspects will break ranks, become state witnesses and implicate senior party and government officials such as Minerals Minister Msebenzi Zwane, ANC Secretary-General Ace
Magashule in his capacity as Free State Premier and others.

The thinking is that Ramaphosa allowed the muddied waters of Nasrec elective conference to pass under the bridge with hope that once, if it comes to Magashule being arrested or
indicted, he will be requested to recuse himself from the SG position “until he
has cleared his name”.

That can take as long as Zuma’s much awaited indictment and trial. In that space Ramaphosa will be able to become the new sheriff in town without looking over his shoulder; especially given that outgoing Mpumalanga ANC Chairperson David Mabuza has already
poisoned his waters with Zuma which in essence removes him from any other future KZN originating faction, but puts him squarely in his “Unity” camp, which as the coming months will prove does not exist.

Goodenough Mashego is a political analyst at five radio stations. He is also a 360 Degrees Artist based in Mapulaneng