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President Cyril Ramaphosa has taken a thinly-veiled swipe at his predecessor Jacob Zuma, saying frequent reshuffles of ministers and a high turnover of senior managers at both national and provincial government led to instability and confusion. Frequent cabinet reshuffles were a hallmark of Zuma’s scandal-ridden term in office, with claims that the Gupta family had influence in the appointment of his cabinet. This allegedly facilitated state capture and the looting of state owned enterprises. The allegations are being probed by the commission of inquiry into state capture headed by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo. Delivering the presidency budget vote speech in Parliament on Wednesday, Ramaphosa said the presidency is required to develop and implement national policy in a coherent and cohesive manner to remove policy uncertainty. “In the past, this envisioned co-ordination has weakened. Frequent reshuffles of ministers and a high turnover of senior managers at both national and provincial government have led to instability, misalignment and confusion,” said Ramaphosa. He said public policy must be evidence-based and effectively coordinated. “It is for this reason that as the centre of government, we are reconstituting the policy unit in the presidency as the nerve centre of policy co-ordination,” the president said. The new unit will be leading evidence-based policy-making; liaising and operating with think tanks and research institutions and have line of sight on strategic policy interventions. “The policy unit has already hit the ground running by working through the cluster system and intergovernmental structures to ensure alignment of national and provincial priorities. In this regard, by the end of August we will have provincial growth and development strategies that are fully aligned with the medium-term strategic framework (MTSF).” Ramaphosa said the passing of the National Health Insurance Bill by cabinet last week was the clearest example of what a focused presidency could achieve. “The truth is that lack of co-ordination between national and provincial governments, between departments and particularly at local government level, has not served us. “We have slid into a pattern of operating in silos. This has led to lack of coherence in planning and implementation, and has made monitoring and oversight of government’s programme difficult. It has become a significant deterrent to investment as business-people have had to move from pillar to post in search of support and services in what are essentially the same sectors,” said Ramaphosa. He said one example of what can go wrong when departments work in silos was the implementation of visa regulations that had unintended consequences on tourism. “The executive of the sixth administration will speak with one voice. It will not pursue pet projects that are disjointed and misaligned with national priorities.” Ramaphosa also said he will be signing performance agreements with ministers and deputy ministers by the first week of September. Responding to the president’s speech, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said there was a need to boost economic growth, and the performance of state owned enterprises, among others. “Let us deal decisively with our SOEs. Rather than bailing them out, let us split Eskom in two, let us bring in an equity partner for SAA and let us review the mandates of the other SOEs,” said Maimane. “We cannot talk about inclusive growth and yet persist with narrow economic empowerment. We must start by admitting that broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) has not delivered economic inclusion. It is a fig leaf for redress and it does nothing for 99% of SA’s excluded citizens. “Scrap B-BBEE, Mr President, and replace it with a plan that offers real broad-based inclusion in our economy,” the DA leader said. In his speech, EFF leader Julius Malema continued the party’s sustained attack on public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan over the setting up of the so-called SA Revenue Service (Sars) “rogue unit”. “Mr President, the public protector has confirmed what we all know, that there is an unlawful, illegal and extremely dangerous intelligence unit that was established by Mr Pravin Gordhan in his previous job as Sars commissioner … Speaker, under the leadership of President Cyril Ramaphosa, the centre is not holding, things fall part, and SA is being auctioned off to a very dangerous minority that has private intelligence in service of its interests,” said Malema. Earlier in July, under fire public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane released reports finding that Gordhan had violated the constitution by establishing the Sars “rogue unit”. She also found that he had misled the National Assembly about his meeting the Gupta family. Mkhwebane directed Ramaphosa to take disciplinary action against Gordhan within 30 days. Gordhan’s lawyers are due to provide details of plans to take the public protector’s report on judicial review. The report was Mkhwebane’s second finding against Gordhan. In May she released a controversial report directing Ramaphosa to “take appropriate disciplinary action” against Gordhan, finding that his approval of former Sars commissioner Ivan Pillay’s early retirement package amounted to “improper conduct” and violated the constitution. Gordhan is challenging both reports in court.
Created at 2019/07/24 12:51 PM by Mediclinic
Last modified at 2019/07/24 12:51 PM by Mediclinic