COSATU’s statement on the Cabinet reshuffle by President Ramaphosa

The Congress of South African Trade Unions has noted the Cabinet reshuffle by President Cyril Ramaphosa. We support the decision to reshuffle the cabinet and understand and appreciate the broad consultation process involving Alliance partners.

We wish all the new appointees well in their new positions. We will give all the new appointees a chance to prove themselves in their new positions. We hope to see signs of a paradigm shift in how the government sees the role of the state in the economy. This requires an effective and activist state that is led by men and women of integrity.  

The Federation welcomed the declaration of a state of disaster to tackle the energy crisis crippling the economy.  The new Minister needs to act decisively to ensure that Eskom has all the support it requires to reduce and end load-shedding over the next few months.  The nation cannot afford to normalize (10) hours of load shedding a day.

The Minister for Transport needs to act decisively with the Ministers for Police and Public Enterprises to halt the siege being waged by criminal syndicates against Metrorail and Transnet. An efficient rail network is key to growing the economy and reducing unemployment.

The Minister for Intelligence needs to accelerate the cleaning up of a State Security Agency that for many years has been better known for malfeasance and had little to do with intelligence.

COSATU expects to see the new Minister for DPSA move with speed to repair the broken relationship between the state and public servants if it is to be able to achieve the various commitments made in the State of the Nation Address and Budget. 

The Federation hopes that the new Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs will bring some energy and ideas into a portfolio that is in ICU.  Over the past decade, the state of local government has rapidly deteriorated with 90% of them now in financial distress, with twenty 20 no longer paying their own employees, and many failing to provide basic services. 

The Minister for Public Works and Infrastructure needs to expedite the rollout of the public infrastructure programme that is key to stimulating the economy.  

The Minister for Policy Monitoring and Evaluation to needs to develop plans and tools for government to intervene when the organs of the state disintegrate and worse collapse.  The Minister for Home Affairs must work to rebuild a battered key public service.  The Minister for Communications and Digital Technologies needs to focus on a plan that rebuilds the Post Office and protects the rights of its employees.

Something is clearly rotten in the Department of Tourism; the new Minister needs to restore good governance there and shift its focus to boosting this key jobs-rich sector of the economy and not on hair-brained self-enrichment schemes.  The new Minister for Sports, Arts, and Culture would do well to move the Department away from extravagant flag poles to giving support to artists, musicians, sports, and other cultural workers.

The sixth administration needs to understand that workers have had enough of the unfulfilled promise to implement the Freedom Charter. They demand a radical change in their socioeconomic conditions and the creation of a powerful developmental state which intervenes decisively in strategic sectors of the economy.

This requires a radical shift in economic policy and a full implementation of the Freedom Charter! South Africans are communicating a strong message that political freedom may soon be meaningless without economic freedom.

This cabinet needs to commit itself to the abolishment of the apartheid wage structure and start to respect and take seriously collective bargaining, and the provision of comprehensive social protection for the unemployed!

We remain disappointed that not enough was done to reduce the size of the cabinet and to realign the government departments to improve their cooperation and levels of efficiency. Postponing this process and shifting to the next administration is not satisfactory.

Issued by COSATU   

Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794