Fired ministers’ hits and misses
Where Sexwale, Pule and Baloyi failed and where they succeeded
WHEN President Jacob Zuma announced that he had fired three members of his cabinet this week, he didn’t elaborate on why. We examine their hits and misses. TOKYO SEXWALE – Minister of Human Settlements: Minister since: 2009 Problems inherited: His predecessor, Lindiwe Sisulu, launched the N2 Gateway project, which she termed the “biggest housing project ever undertaken by any government”, in 2005. It became Sexwale’s responsibility. Still incomplete after eight years, it will now be passed on to new Human Settlements Minister Connie September. Failures: Sexwale has previously termed his portfolio a “daunting challenge”, with a housing backlog of more than 2 million units, affecting about 8 million people. With a 2030 deadline to remove the backlog, the department had to provide 200 000 houses a year, a target it could not meet. Sexwale admitted that the bill to fix the problems was R50 billion – nearly twice his annual budget.
Sanitation has proved to be a major political point scorer ahead of next year’s election, and Sexwale earlier this year admitted that his department, with a sanitation backlog of more than 2 million households, was unlikely to meet the December 2014 deadline to eradicate the bucket system. He attributed this to poor performance by municipalities, and growing numbers of migrant workers. Successes: Sexwale set the Special Investigating Unit to work in his portfolio in a bid to clean up fraud and corruption, both within the department and among contractors. Following major problems in the Estate Agency Affairs Board, highlighted by charges of theft brought against estate agent Wendy Machanik, Sexwale placed the board under the administration of Cape Town attorney Taswell Papier, under whom a new board has been elected to right the ship.
What he’ll be remembered for:
His political aspirations or his messy divorce. DINA PULE – Minister of Communications: Minister since: 2011 Problems inherited: Pule was the seventh communications minister since 1994, so she inherited a department with little leadership. It was also the worstspending department in 2010/11, being the only one to ever spend less than 80 percent of its budget, with expenditure of just 66.8 percent that year.
Pule has repeatedly made headlines for all the wrong reasons. She was accused of abusing the budget for an ICT Indaba in Cape Town, and it was claimed that she allowed her boyfriend, Phosane Mnqibisa, to make appointments to the boards of the SABC, the Post Office and other state-owned enterprises. She held a public press conference to discredit the Sunday Times.
New minister Yunus Carrim has already identified the shambolic SABC as one of his primary targets, while the Post Office, already plagued by revenue problems, was hit with a two-month strike this year.
In her budget speech, Pule said the department had opened 50 new post offices in the previous year, many in rural areas, making access to social grants easier. The ICT sector has created 37 000 jobs since 2010.
What she’ll be remembered for:
Her red- soled Christian Louboutin shoes, which she was alleged to have bought with the ICT Indaba funds. RICHARD BALOYI – Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs: Minister since: 2011 Problems inherited: Baloyi’s predecessor, Sicelo Shiceka, launched Operation Clean Audit, meant to assure clean audits by 2014. Baloyi inherited a shambolic municipal finance system, and was tasked with ensuring municipalities got clean audits. Failures: Audit outcomes for national and provincial departments have regressed over the past three years, while just 5 percent of municipalities got clean audit results in July last year.
The controversial Traditional Courts Bill was criticised by rights groups who called it unconstitutional.
Communities in Sasolburg rioted in January, leaving several dead or injured, in response to plans to merge their municipality with the Ngwathe municipality. Riots stopped when Baloyi cancelled the merge. Successes: Baloyi said in his May budget speech that the Commission on Disputes and Claims for Traditional Leadership had concluded 85 percent of its 1 244 outstanding cases from the previous year. A team was established to finalise issues around traditional leaders’ salaries. While Sexwale blamed the sanitation backlog on municipalities, Baloyi claimed a 3 percent reduction in unventilated pit toilets between 2001 and 2011.
What he’ll be remembered for:
R360 000 spent on car rental while he was minister of public service and administration.
CONTROVERSIAL: Richard Baloyi
SPENDER: Dina Pule
DAUNTED: Tokyo Sexwale