Mbalula talks tough, warns ministers to shape up or ship out

ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula has laid down the law for ministers in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet, saying the time for laziness and unaccountability is over.

Delivering a keynote address at the ANC Youth League fundraising event at the Bryanston Country Club, north of Joburg on Wednesday, he warned that those appointed into cabinet during the reshuffle this week, and their colleagues who were retained, are in for scrutiny by Luthuli House, for the first time in the governing party’s history.

According to Mbalula, ministers have been doing as they please without accounting to the party that deployes them, because “Luthuli House was very weak”.

But with him as the new sheriff at Pixley ka Isaka Seme Street, the ANC head office, those days of a “loose arrangement” are a thing of the past.

This is one of the reasons, said Mbalula, that the ANC has established the department of policy and research at Luthuli House, headed by Febe Potgieter, to ensure that ministers implement party policy instead of “doing their own thing”.

According to Mbalula, he and Potgieter will hit the ground running in holding ministers to account one by one, and none will escape the scrutiny.

“We are in charge, we must provide leadership. And those who do not perform, their days are numbered. If you do not perform, you are out,” he warned.

“Ministers must jack up their act. If you do not work, we will be sitting on you. In June, we will go to the Lekgotla and Febe [Potgieter] will ask each minister, ‘have we done what we said we will do’?

“People must not try to be clever and come up with some new things. We will tell them ‘go back and read our last Lekgotla minutes’.

“Sputla [Ramokgopa] will have to tell us what he has done about loadshedding and how far he is.

“This thing of ministers being loose and not being held accountable will come to an end. Ministers have not been held accountable by the party because the ANC has been very weak in Luthuli House.”

Mbalula charged that it is his “responsibility to focus ministers into line” so that they understand that their deployment in government is not a holiday jaunt.

“I will not be ashamed to call ministers one by one and tell them in their faces that ‘stop lazing around’.

“No matter how many times one appears on TV, they will have to prove with tangible things that they are doing the work of the ANC.

“Truth be told, some of our comrades have let us down in a big way, and we cannot camouflage this fact.”

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