Monday, May 11, 2009



By The Editor
May 11, 2009

Has he allowed the ANC Youth League to influence his removal of Pandor?

EDITORIAL: PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma has taken the oath, made his inauguration speech and announced his Cabinet in a weekend of huge political change.

He has started his presidency on a bright note, staying away from rancour and vengeance in favour of reconciliation and harmony.

He has made a point of underscoring the Nelson Mandela legacy of nation building, positive political energy and racial harmony.

This was underscored by Nelson Mandela’s appearance at his inauguration, a considerable effort from the 90-year-old statesman.

Zuma’s Cabinet choices give us an idea of how he intends to tackle the five priorities he has identified: education, health, land reform, fighting crime and creating jobs.

Zuma intends to drive implementation with a powerful new planning commission, headed by Trevor Manuel.

But are his line ministers the best choices? Heading the new Basic Education ministry is Angie Motshekga. Could it be that Zuma has allowed the ANC Youth League to influence the removal of the highly competent Naledi Pandor from this position after their recent political falling out?

Then there is the unknown quantity Aaron Motsoaledi, who has been given the health portfolio.

The movement of Barbara Hogan to Trade and Industry is puzzling given the big impact she has had on changing perceptions of health policy in her brief tenure under Kgalema Motlanthe.

The appointment of Rob Davies to Trade and Industry does not signal that industrial development is being kicked into top gear.

What is puzzling is why Zuma did not put his heaviest political muscle in Tokyo Sexwale, Lindiwe Sisulu and Pandor to work on his key priorities.