Zuma Shuffle or Harlem Shakes?

In what is probably not the last reshuffling of cabinet posts before the upcoming national elections in 2014, a ceremony was held on 10 July 2013 at the presidential guesthouse ‘Sefako Makgatho’ in Pretoria and under the ever watchful eyes of presiding Constitutional Court Judge Johan Froneman a variety of new ministers and deputy ministers were sworn in.

In a rather aggressive stance, Zuma refused to comment on any of the reasons, he might have had for the changes in cabinet. The following overview should give clarity to the new ministers at the helm of their various departments (former in brackets):

_Energy:_ Ben Martins (Dipuo Peters)
_Transport:_ Dipuo Peters (Ben Martins)
_Human Settlements_: Connie September (Tokyo Sexwale)
_Communications:_ Yunus Carrim (Dina Pule)
_Governance & Traditional Affairs:_ Lechesa Tsenoli (Richard Baloyi)

While at the same time a variety of deputy ministers were also sworn in, the reasoning of the president behind these moves can only be guessed. It is true that it is the prerogative of the president to effect personnel changes within the executive arm of the government, but it also leaves room for speculation…..

Lets start with Mrs. Peters. It is no secret that the government’s energy procurement is progressing at snail pace. Medupi and Kusile are years behind schedule and costs are out of control, way out of control. Closing of the first renewable energy procurement agreements took months and months and we are seeing only now the first movements on various sites of round one preferred bidders. One wonders what good she will do in the Department of Transport, potholes and broken robots will tell soon enough!

Dikobe Ben Martins is now heading the Energy Department after only one year as the Minister of Transport. His over-eagerness in the e-toll-saga as well as negative exposure made the change necessary as he is considered a loyal follower of Zuma.

The axing of former businessman and property tycoon Tokyo Sexwale continues the red thread through Zuma’s poor choices. He is not getting rid of duds and cronies – as he should – but of those who stand in the way or endanger his re-election process. Sexwale is considered to be part of the “Forces of Change” and it was only a matter of time, before he could not be tolerated anymore.

Getting rid of Dina Pule was surely a compromise, a pawn that needed to be sacrificed. The endless accusations of nepotism, tender meddling and development boycott (Digital TV was coming in which year again?) needed to be ended, too many building sites on Zuma’s way to re-election; lets close some!

To sum it up, the recent shuffle is far from being entertaining as the popular Harlem Shuffle, proves again poor governance in favour of loyal support for the election camp to be erected. Sad affairs, Mr. President, sad affairs!

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