[DEBATE] : No purges, public servants are told, Karima Brown and Amy Musgrave
dominic.tweedie at gmail.com
Fri Feb 1 08:31:54 GMT 2008
No purges, public servants are told
Karima Brown and Amy Musgrave, Business Day, Johannesburg, 1 February 2008
Senior public servants in the government have accepted that change
within the state is inevitable, given the two centres of power between
the government and the African National Congress (ANC) following Jacob
However, officials moved yesterday to allay fears that there would be
a wholesale purge that would affect service delivery in the lead-up to
a change of guard in next year's general election.
While there was an appreciation that there would be change, officials
have cautioned against blowing up the matter, given that it is taking
place within the ruling party.
There is mounting concern that the ascendency of Zuma and his
supporters could result in purges across all three spheres of
government, a move that will have a negative effect on the state's
ability to deliver basic services. This week saw a vote of no
confidence in the mayor of Rustenburg, Matthew Wolmarans, after he
allegedly fell victim to supporters of Zuma. In the run-up to the
ANC's elective conference, Wolmarans publicly endorsed President Thabo
Many fear the lack of experience in government of the party's new
guard will erode the institutional memory, and affect the incoming
government's ability to continue the government's programme of action.
But the new party leadership has defended some of these changes, such
as the appointment of parliamentary speaker Baleka Mbete as the new
head of the party's political committee and changes in its caucus, as
ways to create synergy between the ANC and state.
Both the government and the ANC fear that different factions will
spend their time trying to outmanoeuvre each other, neglecting
much-needed implementation of the government's programme of action.
The ANC's list process to elect its new batch of deployments in
government gets under way in the middle of the year. It is likely to
erode attempts at co-operation between the two centres of power and
could cause instability.
In an effort by the government to take on board the ANC's five-year
programme, the state has agreed to prioritise at least six issues
identified by the party. These include integrating the Scorpions with
the South African Police Service, and making 60% of school fees free
by next year. President Thabo Mbeki will make his state of the nation
address next Friday, when he is expected to announce plans on these
matters as well as other challenges.
The revamping of the country's criminal justice system received much
attention last year, and suggestions being considered include
introducing a "super minister" to co-ordinate efforts to streamline
the ministries that fall into this cluster.
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