Old or young, if they ain’t got talent, they ain’t gonna perform

Ideas

Old or young, if they ain’t got talent, they ain’t gonna perform

It feels sensible to demand the vigour of youth in Ramaphosa’s cabinet, but beware the pervasive ageism

Columnist

Many people seemed underwhelmed by Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet reshuffle last week, but as someone who yearns for SA to start building towards political mediocrity, I must say it felt to me as if the country was taking a step forward, or at least tripping forward, or at least falling forward into a fairly forgiving hedge.

Yes, our new deputy minister of water and sanitation did insist in 2017 that if a child dies in a toilet it’s God’s will. And yes, Nathi Mthethwa is still minister of sports, arts and culture, which is proof that the race is not to the swift but to the loyal incumbent.

But that’s what happens when, like Ramaphosa, you’re treading water while trying to build a life raft with people who either have a deep ideological suspicion of boats or else have made a deal with the sharks. You have to move very slowly so as not to alarm the morons or alert the criminals, and you end up having to use rotten wood, mouldy canvas, and Bheki Cele...

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