Zille’s 100 days

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - COMMENT -

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.

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