A group of ANC veterans has warned South African President Cyril Ramaphosa that new deployments to Cabinet and public positions should take into account the fact that the fight against the perpetrators of state capture and corruption is not over.
This as Ramaphosa begins what are expected to be tough consultations with senior leaders and advisers as to who to appoint to his reduced Cabinet and how to balance issues of age, gender and factions in his divided party, the Johannesburg-based City Press reported.
In a document written this month by a group of ANC veterans including Wally Serote, Snuki Zikalala, Aziz Pahad, Thami Ntenteni and Fazel Randera, they highlight the apparent modus operandi used by the party’s own leaders and members to weaken government and thus block the party from achieving its objectives.
Citing revelations in the Zondo and SA Revenue Service (Sars) commissions of inquiry, the veterans wrote that the rot goes “further than individual instances of corruption and bad governance by particularly bad individuals.”
Ramaphosa will assume power for his first proper term on May 25 after his inauguration and has promised a leaner and more effective government.
This week, the ANC obtained a 57.51% share of the national vote, representing a 5% drop since the 2014 elections. The party lost support in all of the nine provinces and barely held on to Gauteng, which it kept by 50.19%.
But party leaders told City Press said they were not overly disappointed in light of the scandals and infighting the party has been through.
Ramaphosa is expected to trim Cabinet to just 25 ministers, from the current 35, City Press reported. He is also expected to reduce the number of deputy ministers, keeping them only in key portfolios such as international affairs.
This will be his most delicate balancing act in deciding which ministries to cut and which departments to keep.
A former government official said the planned reconfiguration of departments and reduction of ministries had been informed by the fact that some portfolios duplicated responsibilities, which also led to the bloating of the public service bill.
The world will also be watching to see if Ramaphosa has the courage to exclude party leaders who have been implicated in corruption and state capture from his Cabinet.
He is likely to face opposition from within the ANC should he be perceived to target the likes of Bathabile Dlamini and Nomvula Mokonyane only, as he could be accused of pursuing a purge against the supporters of former President Jacob Zuma.
The ANC’s integrity commission earlier tried to assist the party by drawing up a list of 22 people who it identified as unsuitable for public office. But the ANC has not acted on the recommendation, which would have affected senior leaders such as Deputy President David Mabuza.
There have also been calls for the elders to make way for the younger generation.
A member of the national executive committee (NEC) said: “Remember, you cannot cut everything at once, so that is where we will start. Those old ones must go, but I doubt the president will listen to us on that, especially on people such as Jeff Radebe.
“The final decision will be up to the president,” the member said. “He does not have to bring that discussion to the NEC because then you are saying people must decide on their futures. But there may be some consultation with the subcommittee on governance.”
A close ally of Ramaphosa said that among the factors he had to look into when considering a new Cabinet were balancing the issues of gender and youth, the representation of alliance partners, geographic spread as well as ethnicity.
“Those implicated in state capture will also have to understand that their fate will come under heavy scrutiny,” said the person, who is also a member of the ANC’s NEC.
With the opposition DA and EFF increasingly fielding youngsters into leadership positions, Ramaphosa would be hard-pressed to prioritise a “generational mix” in his new government team. However, this was likely to prove contentious as senior leaders such as Naledi Pandor, Pravin Gordhan and Radebe had accepted nomination, signaling that they were ready to make a comeback.