Cape Town – President Jacob Zuma’s new, even bigger cabinet is bad news for economic growth and job creation, said DA leader Helen Zille in a statement on Monday.
Reacting to Zuma’s announcement of his new cabinet, Zille said the president does not inspire confidence that South Africa’s major challenges of weak economic growth, unemployment and corruption will be tackled effectively in his second term.
She welcomed continuity in some crucial departments such as basic education and health, as well as the removal of some non-performing ministers like Nathi Mthethwa, Jeff Radebe and Susan Shabangu.
However, Zille decried the fact that other non-performing ministers have been retained in the cabinet (she mentioned Thulas Nxesi and absent Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant) and in some instances moved to crucial portfolios.
Zille singled out Tina Joemat-Petterson in particular, saying her move to the department of energy is “lamentable”.
“Ms Joemat-Petterson performed very poorly as Minister of Agriculture, and does not deserve to serve in the executive,” said Zille.
Zuma has expanded his already excessively large executive to include more new departments and several additional deputy ministers, said Zille.
“What the government needs is a leaner, more effective administration, not an ever growing executive. It is clear that these new positions have little to do with efficiency, and everything to do with solving the ANC’s internal political problems at public expense,” said Zille.
She believed that Pravin Gordhan’s relocation from the Treasury to cooperative government will “almost certainly have negative consequences for international investor sentiment towards South Africa”.
Sais Zille: “We hope that over the coming years Minister Nhlanhla Nene will prove that he can get rising government debt levels under control and that he can instil a sense of fiscal discipline that has been lacking in recent years.
“We hope that Minister Gordhan will bring his trademark efficiency to the Department of Co-operative Government and Traditional Affairs, which has underperformed for several years.
She commented negatively on the creation of “yet another unnecessary Department for Small Business Development”.
Said Zille: “We have argued before that this department is superfluous, and will only complicate the debate about the future economic direction our economy is to take.
“The priority for this administration should be getting the whole government to support a unified vision and policy direction that is focused on economic growth that creates jobs.
“The addition of another ministry is sure to introduce yet another economic plan, championed by another minister, and competing with the National Development Plan.”
The new cabinet needs time before its performance can be adequately assessed, said Zille. “We will do everything in our power to ensure that each new minister respects the constitution and that corruption and mismanagement is appropriately dealt with”.