INTERNATIONAL law violations, evading critical questions in Parliament, as well as disregard for the authority of Chapter Nine institutions and the courts, were some of the reasons cited why President Jacob Zuma received the worst ever cabinet report from the Democratic Alliance (DA).
The official opposition party briefed reporters in Parliament on Friday afternoon with its annual end-of-year assessment of the president and government ministers. Even Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s beggarly D grade was higher than Mr Zuma’s F on the DA cabinet report card.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane told reporters that 13 ministers scored lower this year than in 2014. Mr Zuma scored right at the bottom, alongside Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini and Communications Minister Faith Muthambi.
He blamed the failure to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, court battles over Nkandla and the plunder of public resources at state institutions on a president who “prioritises the ANC above ordinary South Africans”.
“With SA facing crises on many fronts including inadequate higher education funding, rising unemployment, slow economic growth and the worst drought since 1992, the president has done little more than laugh in the face of struggling South Africans,” Mr Maimane said.
He was alluding to Mr Zuma’s last appearance before the National Assembly, where his ill-timed laughter drew outrage.
DA chief whip John Steenhuisen said Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande (F), was found wanting in the face of student protests over university fee increases and that Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant (F) had not attended a single labour committee meeting since she was appointed in 2010.
DA national spokeswoman Phumzile van Damme said while there were “outliers in the mostly dismal report card”, the efforts of good performers were undermined by growing crises and poor decisions in the office of the executive.
Ms van Damme said the better performers included Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi (C), Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe (C) and Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor (B).
Mr Maimane said while Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene (C) demonstrated his concern for the finances of key state institutions, he lacked the political clout needed to bring about the financial reforms he hoped for.
Mr Steenhuisen said while Mr Ramaphosa scored better than Mr Zuma, his stature in the house continued to diminish with each appearance, as he turned evasive or dismissive in the face of difficult questions.