Swazi Observer - - FEATURES & OPINION -

MY fly on the wall tells me that it was a mixed re­ac­tion Cab­i­net meet­ing this week as the min­is­ters rem­i­nisced on the pot-shots aimed at them by this col­umn last Fri­day.

While some min­is­ters took it in the light-hearted man­ner it was de­signed to be oth­ers were hot on the col­lar over the ar­ti­cle as they felt it didn’t por­tray them in the man­ner they see them­selves.

Quite un­for­tu­nate. Never mind that there are those who cared less and ac­tu­ally didn’t even know they fea­tured in the in­fa­mous col­umn.

It re­minds me of the say­ing that there are three types of peo­ple: Those who make things hap­pen, those who watch things hap­pen, and those who ask, what hap­pened? Un­for­tu­nately, that’s the na­ture of life.

I am also told in that meet­ing, those who took the ar­ti­cle light-heart­edly were pok­ing fun at their col­leagues who didn’t fea­ture, warn­ing them to ex­pect the worst this week. To those min­is­ters who were ir­ri­tated by the ar­ti­cle, I have one thing to say; They must take a chill pill and they will soon be fine.

To those who were less both­ered, per­haps it ex­plains ex­actly what I was say­ing in the ar­ti­cle, that they are only there for the perks and couldn’t care less about any­thing else. Talk of stom­ach pol­i­tics.

As I had al­luded in that ar­ti­cle, the views are based on how I will re­mem­ber the out­go­ing min­is­ters, not so much for what they have done. In all fair­ness I will miss each one of them.

Be­low is a con­tin­u­a­tion of the snip­pet of how I will per­son­ally re­mem­ber each of the cur­rent Cab­i­net min­is­ters.

Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing Min­is­ter Phineas Ma­gag­ula: What can I say about the age­ing for­mer SNAT boss? I am sure there

Phineas Ma­gag­ula. are times when he wished he didn’t con­sider the job at all. It hasn’t been smooth sail­ing in the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor un­der him. I will not be ly­ing if I say at times he wished he was back home at Lom­a­hasha play­ing with his grand­chil­dren than be­ing made to run around try­ing to fix the ed­u­ca­tion cri­sis. He is cur­rently faced with a hot potato on his lap; which is the is­sue of the Swazi­land Chris­tian Univer­sity (SCU). I’m told the old man has a per­sonal in­ter­est in the mat­ter. Maybe it’s time he de­clared it for the ben­e­fit of the stu­dents and ev­ery­one in­volved.

Eco­nomic Plan­ning and De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Prince Hlan­gusem­phi: My edi­tor al­ways says the prince is bet­ter at danc­ing than what he is ac­tu­ally do­ing in the min­istry. I didn’t want to be­lieve it, but Hlan­gusem­phi has not done any­thing to dis­suade my think­ing.

One sig­nif­i­cant project that put him un­der a lot of spot­light was the host­ing of the SADC Summit last year. Apart from the re­cent re­ports of some cars and mo­tor­bikes ly­ing idle 13 months af­ter the event, there are also dis­turb­ing talks of over-ex­pen­di­ture by the min­istry. Maybe the min­is­ter needs to come out clean on th­ese sus­pi­cions.

Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Moses Vi­lakati: The man from Nton­dozi is one of those who were caught in com­plete awe of be­ing Cab­i­net min­is­ters; hence he has this habit of shoot­ing from the hip. He will for­ever be re­mem­bered for fail­ing to save 80 000 cat­tle for Swazi farm­ers dur­ing the drought.

Had he been proac­tive, he would have made con­tin­gency plans well in ad­vance to take cat­tle from the farm­ers or even sub­sidised them with bales to save the dy­ing live­stock. But what could we ex­pect from Moses, he failed to save him­self dur­ing the drought. I still have a vivid picture of his with­ered maize fields, which didn’t por­tray a good picture about a min­is­ter re­spon­si­ble for agri­cul­ture.

Sports, Cul­ture and Youth Af­fairs Min­is­ter David ‘Cruiser’ Ng­cam­pha­lala: I know he would like to think he has done very well dur­ing his term, un­for­tu­nately not. I think his back­ground as a po­lice of­fi­cer, where he fol­lowed or­ders to the let­ter, let him down. Once you are a min­is­ter you are on your own and have been en­trusted to make de­ci­sions, bit­ter or sweet. Un­for­tu­nately, ‘Cruiser’ thought he could win over the sport­ing fra­ter­nity by be­ing all over the show. Yes, he has rid­den bi­cy­cles and ran marathons but is that all ‘Cruiser’? Where is your legacy as sports min­is­ter, where are the poli­cies to de­velop sports in the coun­try. Foot­ball is at a point where it should be mov­ing a step for­ward into be­ing fully pro­fes­sional.

Health Min­is­ter Si­bongile Ndle­laSime­lane: What is there to re­mem­ber about Si­bongile? Noth­ing much re­ally, the same prob­lems in the min­istry are still there, drugs short­age and peo­ple still sleep­ing un­der beds to watch Si­bongile Ndlela-Sime­lane. over their sick rel­a­tives.

But I won’t for­get the swift­ness with which she made sure her hus­band, who is a prin­ci­pal, was moved to a Mba­bane school as soon as she was ap­pointed min­is­ter. I’m sure she must have told Sime­lane soon af­ter the ap­point­ment that she would take him with her. She must have whis­pered the late Brenda Fassie pop­u­lar song:

But that was good min­is­ter; you shouldn’t trust any­one with your man. Clearly, she doesn’t be­lieve in long dis­tance re­la­tion­ships.

Com­merce, In­dus­try and Trade Min­is­ter Jab­u­lani Mabuza: If any­one needed ev­i­dence that it’s hot in the Cab­i­net, then Mabuza is the ref­er­ence point. The like­able min­is­ter has lit­er­ally gone grey.

He’s grown more grey hair than poli­cies in both min­istries, hav­ing started at tourism min­istry but later switched to com­merce. It’s still un­clear though if the grey hair has any­thing to with things be­ing tough in Cab­i­net or Mabuza is count­ing the losses suf­fered by his busi­nesses while he serves gov­ern­ment. To com­pound mat­ters, his busi­nesses have been tar­geted by thugs all over the coun­try.

Hous­ing and Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Phi­wayinkhosi Mabuza: An­other of those you even for­get he’s a Cab­i­net min­is­ter. He’s nei­ther here nor there. His low pro­file ap­proach, how­ever, doesn’t mean ev­ery­thing is well in the min­istry. He re­cently re­ceived two del­e­ga­tions from Mba­bane res­i­dents, info@ob­ rais­ing queries about the way the cap­i­tal city is run.

Pub­lic Ser­vice Min­is­ter Owen Nx­u­malo: He’s a new­bie in Cab­i­net and, there­fore, we have not seen much from him. But one thing for sure he will be very busy th­ese days fol­low­ing the zero per cent of­fer to civil ser­vants. I call him ‘Danc­ing Owen’ from his days at Manzini Mu­nic­i­pal­ity. We will all be cu­ri­ous how he will dance his way out of this one.

Jus­tice and Con­sti­tu­tional Af­fairs Min­is­ter Edgar Hil­lary: An­other from the pen­sion­ers’ club in Cab­i­net. He’s not been in the min­istry much longer af­ter tak­ing over from fired Sibu­siso Shongwe. But clearly his ap­proach to things is at the ex­pected pace of an old man. Maybe that was the kind of sta­bil­ity that was needed af­ter Shongwe.

Tourism and En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Christo­pher Gamedze: An­other new­comer in Cab­i­net. Noth­ing much has been seen from him, ex­cept his care­less state­ment about po­lice way­lay­ing drink-driv­ing tourists af­ter the MTN Bush­fire.

Prince Hlan­gusem­phi.

David Ng­cam­pha­lala.

Moses Vi­lakati.

Jab­u­lani Mabuza.

Phi­wayinkhosi Mabuza.

Edgar Hil­lary.

Owen Nx­u­malo.

Christo­pher Gamedze.

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