Zuma dumps 10 ministers to ‘improve governance’

Sunday, October 31, 2010

PRETORIA - South African President Jacob Zuma Sunday dumped ten of his ministers in a cull which he said was motivated by his desire to improve governance.

At a hastily-arranged press conference a year and a half into his five-year mandate Zuma announced that he was replacing his ministers for communications, public works, labour, water and environmental affairs, public enterprises, public services, sports, culture and sports development and women and children.

Most of these ministers are generally acknowledged to have underperformed.

Outgoing Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana has come up with no fresh ideas on how to tackle unemployment of over 25 percent.

Populist outgoing Sports Minister Makhenkesi Stofile threatened a “third World War” if women’s 800m world champion Caster Semenya were barred from competition after undergoing gender tests. Semenya was finally allowed to run again after a year away from the track.

And departing Culture Minister Lulu Xingwana fell out with many in the arts world after she boycotted an exhibition in protest over a photograph showing two lesbians.

While a reshuffle had been expected, some of Zuma’s new appointments were bound to raise eyebrows.

Two of his new ministers are former leaders of the ruling African National Congress’s rabidly nationalist Youth League.

Led by the notorious Julius Malema, a figure of fear among whites, whose trademark song calls on blacks to “shoot the Boer (white farmer)”, the League has long been angling for a greater presence in government.

Former League leader Fikile Mbalula has been promoted from deputy police minister to sports minister while three-time former Youth League leader Malusi Gigaba has been elevated from deputy home affairs minister to public enterprises minister.

Filed under: Politics

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