Zille’s 100 days
THE RECENT trend towards analysing the performance of leaders after 100 days in office probably serves as little more than a prod to their work ethic: it is difficult to get a real sense of their contribution and un- fair to measure achievements in such a short period.
But the opening 100 days enjoyed by Helen Zille as premier of the Western Cape do suggest that the winds of change are blowing briskly through the corridors of the provincial government.
She started off on a dud note by announcing a male-dominated provincial executive committee (and a predominantly white one at that) and then responding in intemperate fashion to those who
dared to criticise it.
Since then, though, Zille has got down to the hard work. Much of this appears to be directed at sorting out what she characterises as a mess left behind by the previous ANC administration. The fruits of this will only become evident over time, but it is already obvious that some spending under Ebrahim Rasool’s administration was wasteful.
Zille has quickly earned brownie points with the public and critics for acting against the sort of conspicuous consumption evident in other spheres of government. The provincial government’s ministerial handbook will, for example, be rewritten to ensure that members of the provincial executive drive relatively modest cars and do not spend exces- sively on entertainment or self-promotion.
In spite of this generally positive trend there remains a question mark over whether she was wise
to take on a role in which her capacity for bringing about change is probably less pronounced than when she was mayor of this city: just how much power does the provincial government really have?
But the answer to that will probably only become evident in, say, about 1 000 days.