Jacob Zuma: Is he sufficiently competent to appoint capable Candidates?

A Personal View – 2nd June 2014

The latest debacle swirling around a recent appointee relates to the alleged misconduct of the current Head of the NPA is proof writ large of Jacob Zuma’s inability to appoint capable candidates. Ex post facto it is uncovered as part of a Security Clearance check that Mxolisi Nxasana is guilty of various offences including assault but had been found not guilty of murder.

Surely in the year-long search for a suitable replacement of such as key appointment such as this, Mr. Nxasana would have been meticulously vetted and a thorough background check performed.

Mxolisi Nxasana

Mxolisi Nxasana – Current head of the NPA

It appears not to be so.

Furthermore it was also incumbent upon the aspirant appointee to disclose such information PRIOR to his appointment.

As regards the previous appointee – also a Zuma special – there was the equally sorry saga of Menzies Simelane who was forced to vacate this office after he was found to be “wholly inappropriate” for the job.

What do these episodes relating to merely one of multiple appointments signal? They highlight that Zuma’s key prerequisite for nomination to these positions comprises cronyism, deployment, factionalism and protection for Jacob Zuma himself.

Why was Mr Vusi Pikoli, a former head of the NPA and a man of great integrity, who executed his job without fear or favour dismissed? Purely and simply his ousting was to prevent Mr Pikoli from prosecuting certain high ranking officials. His autobiography My Second Initiation exposes the skulduggery of his dismissal in painstaking detail. It should serve as a forewarning and portent of Zuma’s modus operandi.

Considerations such as ability, probity and competency rank low on Zuma’s criteria for appointment.

Let us consider the latest Cabinet appointments. Instead of an opportunity to prune the dead-wood and discard the incompetent, incapable and walking wounded, it was a reshuffling of the incompetents between portfolios before the results of their ill-advised decisions result in calamity to their departments.

Despite the Science and Maths teaching better rated as the worst in the world, Angie Motshekga is re-appointed as Minister of Basic Education. As a dyed-in-the-wool Zuma supporter, she neglected her portfolio whilst MEC in charge of Education in Gauteng to toy-toy at Zuma’s trial for rape in Pietermaritzburg. As her reward for being a loyal cadre, she was moved to Parliament on Zuma’s ascension to power and will doubt warm the seat until his departure.

The wholly inappropriate Fikile Mbalula has been retained as Minister of Sport. Like many other sports administrators in South Africa, he has detracted from sport by being the focus of controversy rather than the game itself. His love of expensive American celebrities a la Beyonce and his foot-in-mouth disease are continual reminders of his inappropriateness to this position. His curmudgeonly remark of calling Bafana Bafana “a bunch of losers” while undisputably appropriate, would never resolve the deep-rooted problems that they face least of all factionalism and corruption at the very top.

The elevation of Lynne Brown to the vital ministry of Public Enterprises after being booted out of the ANC’s Western Cape provincial leadership structures has to leave one agasp at such foolhardiness . Does she possess the ability to oversee such mega-enterprises as SAA and Eskom both of which are currently mired in controversy?


Mildred Oliphant – Minister of Labour

The somnambulant Mildred Oliphant has been retained as Labour Minister. Despite a less than stellar track record she still faces resolving the simmering Platinum Industry strike which has depressed South Africa’s GDP to being a negative .6 for the first quarter of the year. Much to the opposition parties’ delight in the Western Cape, prior to the elections she introduced legislation whereby national demographic percentages would be applied nationally. The Coloured Vote in the Western Cape promptly voted DA en masse in response, much to the ANC’s chagrin. This own goal has forced a rethink by the ANC and the proposal’s withdrawal off the agenda.

One could mention many others such as the corrupt Bheki Cele and Tina Joemat-Pettersson. What about Nathi Mthethwa as Arts and Culture Minister. This must have been a sop to keep ally on-sides.

A further factor devils the appointment of top ranking positions in South Africa. It is appropriately named after a fellow friend of Zuma – read cash source for Mr Zuma – himself, the incomparable Shabir Shaik. Like all ailments, this malady has now nominated for its own appellation: the Shaik Syndrome. After Shabir’s strenuous efforts not to be incarcerated, psychologists identified this as a uniquely South African affliction with its main symptom being “an extreme aversion to be jailed.”There are some well documented side-effects normally being high blood pressure. The only known cure is instantaneous release from jail on parole at which time the ex-convict immediately is able to resume normal life. The miraculous waning of this debilitating disease allows the alacritous resumption of sporting activities.

After a litany of missteps with previous appointments, I contend that Zuma is not a fit and proper person to fill menial positions such as his household staff let alone appoint those who occupy the highest positions in the land.

It is a sad indictment of his judgement but one which lamentably South Africa will have to endure until the expiry of Zuma’s term in office.


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