Minister Dlodlo: Give new Executive a chance

Friday, April 7, 2017
By: 
More Matshediso

Pretoria Newly appointed Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo says the new Cabinet members should be given an opportunity to serve South Africa before being judged based on preconceived notions.

The Minister, who was previously the Deputy Minister of Public Service and Administration, was leading a Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster briefing on Friday in the wake of countrywide protest action calling for the resignation of President Jacob Zuma.

Several civil society organisations and political parties such as Save SA, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) and main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), took part in numerous demonstrations in major cities including Cape Town, Pretoria, Johannesburg, eThekwini and Mbombela today. They are demanding that President Jacob Zuma step down following his Cabinet reshuffle last week.

President Zuma last week appointed new members of Cabinet, which saw some existing Ministers and Deputies either moved to new posts or no longer occupying any positions.

The move, the President said, was aimed at “bring some younger MPs and women into the National Executive in order to benefit from their energy, experience and expertise”.

In response to criticism levelled against the reshuffled Cabinet, Minister Dlodlo said South Africans and the world at large should give them a fair chance, as their mandate is not to aid corruption.

“I will speak for those who were recently appointed because I am one of them. We don’t bring corruption as we come into the executive. We were not appointed and briefed before [assuming office] that our responsibility is to come and loot, if there is such a thing.

“I think it is unfair on the men and women who have been appointed to tar them with a brush that taints their integrity... [There] is talk about the bad men and women who have been appointed by President Jacob Zuma.

“The fiscal policy of the country, if we are to talk about Treasury, has not changed. The staff that was supporting [the former Finance Minister and his deputy] remains there. The protocols of Treasury are in place, they are intact, and so are the systems and processes for decision-making. The governance protocols are in place. Nothing, except faces, has changed.

“Let us give the Ministers that have been recently appointed the benefit of doubt that they will exercise their responsibilities to the best of the abilities in service to the people of South Africa.”

Protests

Minister Dlodlo commended all members of the public and other formations that participated in today’s marches for exercising their Constitutional rights responsibly and conducting their activities peacefully.

She said the marches were peaceful, with minimal clashes. She commend the security cluster for the strong police visibility and members maintaining order and stability.

Behind the scenes, the Minister said, government machinery prepared itself to ensure that services to the public remained uninterrupted and that the daily work of government to move South Africa in an upward trajectory continued.

“We want to also thank those employees in all sectors who made sure that people have access to service points and services. Today was a normal working day, as we pronounced yesterday,” said the Minister.

She said Friday’s activities were a demonstration of a strengthened democracy, where citizens are engaged in shaping public discourse.

“Today’s actions demonstrated a maturing democracy, which guarantees freedom of association, speech and movement. However, in exercising these rights, we need to be mindful of doing so in a responsible manner without infringing on other people’s rights.

“South Africa has strong complimentary institutions in place, such as Parliament, our judiciary and Chapter Nine Institutions, which safeguard our Constitutional rights. Our democracy is a system of rule by law, not by individuals,” said the Minister.

She said these institutions exists to ensure that every individual is protected and enjoys the hard-won freedom.

“As we celebrate Freedom Month, let us remember where we come from as a country. Many lives were sacrificed so that we can enjoy the freedom we have today,” said Minister Dlodlo.

She said South Africans have a responsibility to jealously guard the country’s young democracy and should continue to raise any challenges through the appropriate platforms provided by the Constitution and within the confines of the law.

Minister Dlodlo said the Constitution guarantees freedom of expression for all citizens. The Constitution also guarantees the right to dignity for all South Africans, including President Jacob Zuma.

She said no one has more rights than the other. “South Africans will have another opportunity to make their mark in 2019 and through this free and fair electoral process, citizens can make their voice heard.”

Snap shot of march activity

Minister Dlodlo was supported by State Security Minister David Mahlobo and Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula in the briefing. 

Minister Mapisa-Nqakula said the report that government had received at the time of the briefing indicated that approximately 60 000 people participated in the marches across the country.

“Police said in Pretoria we had about 15 000 [marchers], in Johannesburg about 10 000, Pietermaritzburg 500, in Durban there were less than 8 000 people, Cape Town about 10 000, Mbombela 500, Port Elizabeth 1 500, Bloemfontein about 2 000 and Northern Cape about 500… These are the numbers of people who came out to march today,” said Minister Mapisa-Nqakula.

She said at least two people were reportedly taken to hospital in Johannesburg to be treated for slight injuries, and one person was arrested in Pietermaritzburg.

The Ministers said the update they gave to the nation during the briefing was preliminary and they provided the information that was available to them at the time. - SAnews.gov.za