E-tolling axed Ndebele

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Transport minister Sibusiso Ndebele was no doubt axed from the portfolio due to the controversial e-toll issue, says Democratic Alliance (DA) transport shadow minister, Ian Ollis.

In his third Cabinet reshuffle in three years, president Jacob Zuma moved Ndebele from transport to correctional services, and deputy minister Jeremy Cronin to public works.

Ollis says Ndebele and Cronin were obviously axed from transport over the poor political handling of the Gauteng e-toll saga.

The new minister of transport, Ben Martins, has been a long-serving middle of the road Cabinet minister, while his new deputy, former chair of Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Police, Sindisiwe Chikunga, has been a feisty fighter for delivery, according to Ollis.

“Both, however, have no experience in transport.”

E-toll catalyst

This concern was echoed by Justice Project SA national chairperson, Howard Dembovsky. However, Dembovsky adds he is delighted that Ndebele is going. “I'm very glad to see the back of both Ndebele and Cronin.”

The move was probably made to give them a chance to move away from e-tolling, says Dembovsky.

“There's no doubt all of Cabinet are pissed off about the e-toll debacle. E-tolling was the deciding factor, but that wasn't all. E-tolling was the catalyst, but let's be honest, what has Ndebele achieved?”

Dembovsky exemplifies this by saying the ministry of transport in December said it would appoint a permanent CEO for the Road Traffic Management Corporation.

“It's half a year later and still nothing. We now have an acting CEO in place for about two-and-a-half years.”

New challenge

The Congress of South African Trade Unions welcomes the new ministerial appointments and sends its best wishes to the new ministers and deputy ministers as they confront the challenges they will face in their new positions.

The African National Congress also welcomes the announcement of the Cabinet reshuffle. It believes this reshuffle will enhance capacity in government, particularly in the departments where there were vacancies.

“We also believe that the redeployment of ministers in new portfolios will assist in refocusing those departments and assist in realising the full potential of these comrades. We wish them well in their new responsibilities as they have a responsibility to vindicate our government as a true representative of our people.”

Disruptive government

DA leader Helen Zille says Zuma's new appointments put patronage before the people.

She adds that the president's announcement of a significant reshuffle of Cabinet reveals a president desperate to shore up support ahead of the ANC's Mangaung elective conference.

“President Zuma has reshuffled his Cabinet for the third time in as many years. This is disruptive for government departments and civil servants, and only serves to slow down delivery. Reshuffles must be undertaken to replace underperforming ministers and promote those ministers who perform well.

“In this case, it seems president Zuma has punished those ministers who have not been willing to serve as his vocal cheerleaders, and has promoted those who are willing to do so. Cabinet positions should not be dished out to shore up support ahead of the Mangaung conference; they are important positions with serious delivery responsibilities.”

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