While Friday was all about exchanging pleasantries after Cyril Ramaphosa’s maiden State of the Nation address, yesterday opposition parties quickly reminded the new South African president that talk is cheap and they would hold him accountable for his actions.
Ramaphosa hit all the right notes in parliament on Friday, just a day after being sworn in as the new president following a tumultuous few days leading to Jacob Zuma’s resignation on Wednesday evening.
And while opposition parties carefully selected their words when tackling Ramaphosa yesterday, they were quick to warn him to sort out his Cabinet.
Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane and Economic Freedom Fighters’ commander-in-chief Julius Malema both instructed Ramaphosa to act swiftly and fire questionable ministers from his Cabinet.
“At 35 ministries, each with a deputy minister, ours is one of the most bloated governments in the world,” said Maimane. “It is entirely possible to cut our executive down to 15 ministries, with spending priorities that promote economic growth and job creation.”
Maimane urged Ramaphosa to sack Bathabile Dlamini, Faith Muthambi, Mosebenzi Zwane, Malusi Gigaba, Des van Rooyen, David Mahlobo, Lynne Brown and “Mr R7 000-a-night” Bongani Bongo, while Malema also called for a culling of Cabinet members.
“You removed people at Eskom following allegations. You didn’t waste time. You waste time to remove your own colleagues here,” said Malema.
Many believed Ramaphosa missed a trick by not axing ministers at the weekend ahead of tomorrow’s budget speech by Gigaba.
Had he done so, he would have sent out a stern message that he means business and will not tolerate under-performing or “compromised” ministers.