New Communications Minister promises stability, invoking ‘institutional memory’
Mmamoloko Kubayi, in contradiction to the ANC’s Gwede Mantashe, says new ministers will rely on the work of others to keep their portfolio on course
Newly appointed Communications Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi moved promptly to reassure SA that President Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet reshuffle announced on Tuesday will not create volatility in the work of government.
Typical as such a statement would be, it was at odds with remarks by ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe who, on Wednesday, said the latest shake up could "hurt the alliance" as well as undermine government stability.
The reshuffle saw Kubayi herself moved from the Department of Energy, where she was placed just six months ago, to replace Ayanda Dlodlo in communications. When asked about the inconsistency in the statements by Cabinet and those of the ANC, Kubayi differed with Mantashe’s reading of the reshuffle.
"These are political offices, which ministers occupy. I hear the concerns, but what needs to be taken into cognisance is that service delivery is not affected because there are programmes that must be implemented that remain in the departments, no matter who leads them," she said.
Newly appointed ministers will rely on the work of directors-general and other ministers in Cabinet to keep their portfolio on course, Kubayi said, noting that she was comfortable about Cabinet’s ability to keep government’s work stable. "The Exco has directors and heads who have institutional memory. When the changes happen in political leadership, they don’t move with them. Their institutional memory remains."
Kubayi said South African Airways (SAA) and the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) came up during Wednesday’s Cabinet meetings, where Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba and Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi told Cabinet that the stability of the entities would be prioritised through the appointment of new boards.
Johannes Bhekumuzi Magwaza is the new SAA board chairperson after Dudu Myeni’s ouster, while Advocate Tintswalo Makhubele heads the interim board at Prasa, which also includes Natalie Skeepers, Prof John Maluleke and Cheryl Reddy.