South Africa

It’s time to ditch discredited Ramaphosa and his Cabinet

This week, three things happened to make it clear that President Cyril Ramaphosa is the discredited president of a discredited Cabinet that has run out of ideas, people and energy.

First, the South African Revenue Service (Sars) confirmed the dollars stashed in Ramaphosa’s sofa were ‘‘dirty” in that they had not been declared to Sars, as legally required. This was in response to my application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act.

Ramaphosa now has zero credibility nationally and internationally and no-one will remotely believe his promises to get South Africa off the “greylist” of countries that foreign investors shy away from due to their inability to curb money laundering and corruption.

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Second, Statistics SA announced the economy declined by 1.3% in the fourth quarter of 2022.

This contraction of economic activity is due to the ANC government’s insistent grip on every sector of the economy – including the energy sector, where their obsessive insistence on protecting Eskom’s status as monopoly producer and seller of energy has led to blackouts and the threat of a total grid collapse.

The solution, of course, which the DA has proposed for decades, is to open the economy by decentralising economic decision-making power to individuals and businesses.

The government must stop meddling in the economy and rather focus on doing its own job, which is to create a conducive, enabling environment for economic activity to flourish.

As far as possible, the DA has followed this approach in the only province we run, the Western Cape. There, we treat entrepreneurs and businesses as heroes and we do everything possible to make it easy for them to start, grow and operate businesses, so they can create jobs.

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So, it should have come as no surprise when StatsSA announced last week that 99% of the new jobs created in the fourth quarter of 2022 were created in the Western Cape (167 000 of the 169 000), with the eight ANC-led provinces together contributing just 1% of the net new jobs created.

Third, Ramaphosa reshuffled his Cabinet, not only rearranging the worn-out deckchairs on his Titanic, but adding some new ones, too.

Instead of making good on his 2019 promise to reduce the size of his Cabinet, he made it clear he was doubling down on the ANC’s failed approach of state-led development by adding two more departments at an estimated cost to the taxpayer of another R74 million, and several deputy ministers.

Both these new departments are in the presidency, where it will be hard for the opposition to hold them to account, since the presidency has no parliamentary portfolio committee for oversight, despite repeated requests for this by the DA.

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This means a further centralisation of power with a further erosion of accountability. His reshuffle raised several red flags.

As minister of electricity, he appointed Kgosientsho “Sputla” Ramokgopa, the very same individual who as mayor of Tshwane in 2015 almost bankrupted the city by entering into a corrupt smart electricity meter contract for meters that didn’t work, yet cost around R160 000 per unit.

Worse still, Ramaphosa kept Bheki Cele as minister of police. Few things could say “I don’t care about the people of South Africa” more clearly.

Since Ramaphosa became president, the average number of murders per day in South Africa has risen by over 40%, from 56 to 82.

Yet he did not see fit to replace his useless and corrupt police minister who thinks his job is to endlessly visit crime scenes and pose for photos, rather than apply himself to the urgent task of bringing down the murder rate.

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Next year’s general election gives South Africa a crucial opportunity to ditch our discredited president and his discredited Cabinet and to replace it with a DA-led government that will grow jobs and fight crime.