The saying “one swallow doesn’t make a summer”, applied to the latest position-shuffling within the ANC government, means “one move doesn’t make a new dawn”.
So, on the surface, it would seem as though some of the most controversial ANC leaders, and those linked to graft and scandal, appear to have been sidelined by president Cyril Ramaphosa, whose pledge before and during the election campaign was to clean up government and get his party to “self-correct”.
Deputy President David Mabuza, former parliamentary speaker Baleka Mbete and former ministers Malusi Gigaba and Nomvula Mokonyane are not back in the National Assembly as MPs, nor will they be getting posts in a new Ramaphosa Cabinet.
Even though some of the ANC’s other problem personalities – former social development minister Bathabile Dlamini and former mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane – have been given seats as MPs, it appears as though they, too, will be excluded from the Cabinet.
All of those who won’t be getting jobs as ministers or even MPs have been tainted in some way or another – from involvement in the Gupta or Watson family-led alleged state capture, to committing perjury in court. Their apparent sidelining fits in with Ramaphosa’s pledge to do serious house-cleaning in the ANC.
However – and this is why we sound a strong note of caution – the ANC has a habit of putting controversial people to the side, in the hopes that the country will forget about them; it has a habit of avoiding responsibility and, most importantly, none of the ANC high-ups have been brought to court since Ramaphosa came to power.
We have sympathy for Ramaphosa, because he must watch for the pushback from those loyal to Jacob Zuma. But words must become action, Mr President.