The South African Federation of Trade Unions notes with outrage the Cabinet reshuffle announced by President Ramaphosa.
It proves beyond doubt that the ANC is now terminally sick, divided and incapable of offering any solutions to the monumental problems facing the country and especially the working class and the poor.
It vindicates SAFTU’s view that Ramaphosa’s appointment has changed nothing. He has reshuffled names but remains rooted in the corrupt and pro-business ANC led by his predecessor.
In particular it is incredible that he has appointed a deputy president, and therefore potential president, who has for years been implicated in of some of the most serious crimes when Premier of Mpumalanga.
These crimes included alleged bribery in the awarding of contracts for World Cup facilities, threatening and spying on journalists and drawing up a hit-list of political opponents, of whom at least 15 were assassinated while no-one was arrested for any of these murders.
Journalist Mzilikazi wa Afrika, author of Nothing Left to Steal, who blew the whistle on these crimes, revealed that one of his informants told him that “there is a R1 million reward for anybody can kill you”.
Yet not once did Mabuza condemn or even express any concern about these serious crimes being committed under his watch.
SAFTU welcomes the dismissal of discredited ministers – Lynne Brown, Mosebenzi Zwane, Des van Rooyen, David Mahlobo, Bongani Bongo (who had only been in his position as minister of state security for four months), Nathi Nhleko, Fikile Mbalula, Faith Muthambi, Joe Maswanganyi, and Hlengiwe Mkhize.
However, several ministers implicated in corruption or incompetence have just been moved from one department to another. It is a monstrous insult to women that Bathabile Dlamini, a Minister who has brought the social grant distribution system to the brink of collapse, which could hit the poorest of the poor, mainly women, should be appointed as minister for women.
Ramaphosa has moved Malusi Gigaba back to Home Affairs, one of the departments in which he allegedly began his involvement with the Guptas by fast-tracking their applications for SA citizenship. Thulas Nxesi, who stoutly defended Zuma’s overspending on his Nkandla house, has been reshuffled back to the Public Works department he headed then.
Pro-capitalist supporters Pravin Gordhan and Nhlanhla Nene have been put in charge of the key economic portfolios of Public Enterprises and Finance, a sure sign that Ramaphosa will continue with business as usual, with the priority to appeal the credit ratings agencies to upgrade the economy and convince investors that their investments in SA will be profitable.
For the working class and the poor this reshuffle offers nothing but more job losses, deepening poverty and ever-widening inequality. This had already been foreshadowed in the scandalous Budget speech which imposed a cut in living standards through the 1% increase in VAT and spending cuts in real terms in vital public services.
SAFTU has been proved 100% correct that the crisis facing South Africans was never just one of Jacob Zuma, glad though we are to see him gone, nor of the Guptas.
It is a crisis in the whole ANC leadership of which multi-billionaire Ramaphosa was a leading figure, who never lifted a finger to expose and denounce the looting of public resources since 2009 and backed the neoliberal National Development Plan.
His reshuffle has been exposed as nothing more the a clumsy attempt to paper over the cracks in the NEC while pushing ahead with a pro-capitalist, free-market economic strategy.
It is now more urgent than ever to build an independent workers’ party to challenge the capitalist system and the ANC factions who now serve its interests.