Seven cabinet ministers who should get the chop
These are the heads we want to see rolling when a new cabinet is announced
It's not a matter of if, but when.
Newly sworn-in State President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to make changes to his cabinet soon. One of the first clues as to who could be affected was his intervention in the impasse between the government and the mining industry on the mining charter – without involving Mosebenzi Zwane, the current minister of Mineral Resources.
Who else might be in the firing line and why? See below.1. Public Services and Administration - Faith Muthambi
Ever the one to dispense of patronage, Muthambi apparently flew more than 30 relatives, friends and neighbours from back home to Cape Town to listen to her budget speech – although she will deny any wrongdoing.
She was one of the first ministers to be exposed as beholden to the Gupta family after she leaked an unsigned presidential proclamation detailing her powers to the family. She is said to have sent a series of e-mails containing confidential information about executive policy and the scope of her ministerial powers to Tony Gupta.
Then there is Multichoice’s larger than normal payments to the Gupta-owned news channel ANN7 that happened under her watch. Was this the money that pushed for unencrypted set top boxes in Multichoice’s favour?2. Finance - Malusi Gigaba
A known fence-sitter when it comes to ANC contests, Gigaba’s silence in the face of numerous allegations in connection with state capture leave us with only one conclusion.
The former ANC Youth League leader left a trail of questions marks over his tenure as minister of Public Enterprises and Home Affairs, where the family often benefitted from special treatment.
Gigaba is yet to fully explain his decision to restructure board sub-committees and their powers at Transnet and Eskom, giving more powers on large procurement that coincidentally assisted in the capture of these organisations. During his tenure there he also appointed a number of key individuals to SOE boards, namely Eskom, Transnet and SAA, where an Indian national was appointed to the board by Gigaba.
Leaked Gupta e-mails later shows that Rajesh Naithani owed his presence on the board of SAA to the Gupta family.
At Home Affairs, Gigaba’s adviser Thamsanqa Msomi was the Guptas’ fixer, personally organising visas for family and employees. The family, which seems to have had all access to the department, also got their citizenship applications fast-tracked.
In his defence, though, Gigaba’s removal from the Public Enterprises speaks to a possible refusal to follow some instructions from the influential family. Or it could just be that his fallout with Dudu Myeni – another Zuma friend – trumped his usefulness to the family?3. Public Enterprises - Lynne Brown
The minister of inaction, Brown’s disastrous handling of state-owned enterprises alone should see her removed from this portfolio. Eskom, South Africa’s biggest employer and also the biggest liability to the country with its R367-billion debt, is currently sitting on the brink as it cannot even raise the R20-billion liquidity buffer.
Corruption and mismanagement have virtually led all lenders to refuse to extend any further credit lines to the SOE should it remain in its current form. Billions of rands have been lost to corruption including the preferential treatment of Gupta-owned Tegeta Exploration and Resources as well as the unlawful payment of R1.6-billion to McKinsey and Company and Gupta-linked Trillian.
Parliament’s current hearings into state capture at Eskom have laid bare the extent to which the family ran the organisation and Brown, whose own office has links to gratification from the family through her DG and personal assistant, has simply ignored and failed to act on public allegations showing Eskom was being mismanaged and looted.
Lenders and the national Treasury had to push Brown to suspend former Eskom group chief executive officer Anoj Singh, while the latest attempts to turn Eskom around only happened with the election of a new ANC president.
Besides Eskom, Transnet, the second-biggest SOE, was also a key institution that was captured and saw billions being funnelled out through complex consultancy contracts to the Guptas and their associates.
Denel, another institution targeted by the Guptas, is also in dire financial straits, and so are state airlines South African Express and SA Airlink. Brown has been holed up in her office simply asking what she has done wrong.4. Mineral Resources - Mosebenzi Zwane
Zwane’s association with the Gupta family dates back to his tenure as MEC for agriculture in the Free State where the Guptas were able to siphon off at least R30-million from a government project approved by Zwane’s office. Some of this money ended up paying for a wedding the family hosted back in 2013.
For his role in this Zwane was then “promoted” to cabinet as Mineral Resources minister and he immediately set about earning his keep by using his position to benefit the family’s mining interests. This included suggesting that Eskom gave Tegeta a prepayment, which was turned into a guarantee, in late 2015, and then travelling to Zurich. This is where the Guptas and Salim Essa were negotiating the sale of Optimum Coal Mine with Glencore, giving the family access to the mine's rehabilitation fund, and stepping in to fight alongside the family in its battle against commercial banks that had shut their accounts on fear of money laundering.
Zwane is also accused of misrepresenting a cabinet resolution, telling the nation that cabinet had resolved on a commission of inquiry into the banks, while cabinet had not.5. Social Development - Bathabile Dlamini
The minister of Social Development stands accused of ignoring a Constitutional Court directive that her department cuts loose social grants payment company CPS because the contract was unlawful. Instead, Dlamini continued and meddled in operational issues at the South African Social Services Agency by appointing costly work streams – filled with her cronies – that did not deliver by value.
Dlamini vociferously fought attempts by the national Treasury to bring her department to book – even launching scathing verbal attacks on her then cabinet colleague Pravin Gordhan during cabinet sittings.6. Water Affairs - Nomvula Mokonyane
Another ardent fan of former president Jacob Zuma, Mokonyane will be remembered for her colourful defence of Zuma, famously saying ANC members and cabinet members will use their “buttocks” to defend him: “The attack is not on Zuma, but it is on the ANC. Re tlo thiba ka dibono [We will defend with our buttocks] ... Like it or not, Zuma is ours. He will finish the term ...”
Mokonyane has not covered herself in glory at the department, and she was involved in protracted battle with the national Treasury, which was battling to contain her department’s Umzimvubu Dam project, that stalled for years.7. State Security - Bongani Bongo
Zuma’s latest addition to the cabinet and perhaps the most worrying is Bongani Bongo, State Security minister.
Perhaps most damning against him, was him being fingered for allegedly offering a bribe, reportedly on behalf of disgraced former Eskom board chairperson Zethembe Khoza, to state capture enquiry evidence leader Advocate Ntuthuzelo Vanara.
Bongo was also recently caught up in a yet another scandal, this time for getting the state to foot a R7,000-a-night bill all because he did not want to adhere to water restrictions currently imposed at state houses.