Last night (29 May 2019) President Cyril Ramaphosa announced his Cabinet to lead the 6th administration of South Africa.
Highlights of the announcement include that this is the first Cabinet since 1994 to have 50% women’s representation in the various ministerial positions. There is also a welcome reduction in the number of Minister’s, from the 36 who served and benefited during former President Jacob Zuma’s last cabinet, to what will now be 28 Ministries under President Ramaphosa.
While the new Cabinet contains a number of younger Minister’s, there average age is over 60 which is regrettable given the youthfulness of South Africa’s population.
We commend President Ramaphosa’s undertaking that Minister’s “performance – individually and collectively – will be closely monitored against specific outcomes. Where implementation is unsatisfactory, action will be taken.” In this regard, we call upon the President to ensure that signed performance agreements of Minister’s are publicly accessible, and that these agreements should contain measurable commitments to give effect to:
- The Open Government Partnership undertakings that the South African government have made;
- The 2030 Sustainable Development Goals that South Africa has committed to working towards;
- South Africa’s National Development Plan 2030 which has commendable objectives;
- The Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, including section 34 that places a duty upon certain people who hold positions of authority and who know or ought reasonably to have known or suspected that any other person has committed offences listed in the Act, to report such knowledge or suspicion to the police, failing which they may be subject to criminal prosecution.
- Their Department’s approved budgets and plans, including keeping the public regularly updated on their Ministry and Department’s performance, and corrective action taken where governance and accountability failures occur;
- The objectives of vulekamali.gov.za – which is an online budget portal under development for National Treasury and which seeks to foster more open and participatory budgeting and greater fiscal transparency in South Africa.
- Their oversight responsibilities to ensure that Director-General’s take corrective action where the Auditor-General makes material irregularity findings in accordance with the recently amended Public Audit Act.
The PSAM wish President Ramaphosa and his incoming Minister’s all of the very best as they take office. Principled and accountable leadership can move South Africa forward in a manner that promotes the ideals, rights and responsibilities contained in the Constitution, and which will bring greater prosperity and equality to our society.
Jay Kruuse, Director of the Public Service Accountability Monitor (www.psam.org.za) at Rhodes University.