OUTA not impressed with Mantashe, Nzimande’s comeback

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) has raised concern over the return of Gwede Mantashe and Blade Nzimande to the cabinet.

Mantashe was reinstated as the minister of minerals and petroleum resources, which were separated from energy, while Nzimande returned to science, technology and innovation, which were also separated from higher education.

Wayne Duvenage, the CEO of OUTA, said Mantashe and Nzimande have caused damage to their respective departments and would be better left out of the cabinet.

Gunning for Nzimande

In January, OUTA called for the resignation of Nzimande after he was accused of being implicated in the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) corruption scandal.

The organisation released recordings that sought to prove that Nzimande was involved in the irregularities surrounding four service providers that had failed to pay students on time.

Duvenage said Nzimande had scarred the higher education portfolio, NSFAS, and the Sector Education and Training Authorities.

“We believe that Minister Mantashe has overstayed his welcome and done far too much damage to the mining industry to have been allowed to head up this portfolio,” said Duvenage.

He had also called for the removal of the former transport minister, Sindisiwe Chikunga, and applauded President Cyril Ramaphosa for dropping the axe on her.

Barbara Creecy is currently in charge of the portfolio.

Duvenage had complained that the department had been struggling to use the national administration traffic information system to its full potential and had failed to deal with licence corruption at testing centres.

“[Former] minister Sindisiwe Chikunga did not cover herself in glory during her tenure as the deputy and then minister of transport over the past five years, with growing inefficiencies across the department, not least of all the lack of accountability of the Road Accident Fund CEO, Collins Letsoalo,” said Duvenage.

Mchunu gets high five

He said the former minister of water and sanitation, Senzo Mchunu, was expected to return to the portfolio in the seventh administration.

Pemmy Majodina is now in charge of water and sanitation, while Mchunu has been appointed as the new minister of police.

Duvenage said Mchunu had successfully managed to make up for the mistakes of his predecessors and was confident that he would also fix the mistakes of his new department, including the lack of leadership.

“OUTA has noted the statements by the president and many political leaders that it is time for the government to focus on working for the people.

“We would like to take the new cabinet ministers up on these calls and look forward to engagements with civil society.

“Civil society has experienced significant difficulty when it comes to gaining access to records of decisions and information relating to excessive wasteful expenditure, maladministration, and corruption.”

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