DA’s Bold Move: Insists on Own DGs, Rejects Cadre Deployment Claims

In a dramatic twist in South Africa’s political landscape, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has fiercely defended its stance on appointing its own candidates for top ministerial positions in the Government of National Unity (GNU). The party argues that this move is a strategy to hire the most qualified individuals, countering accusations of hypocrisy over cadre deployment.

In a letter addressed to ANC’s secretary-general Fikile Mbalula, the DA outlined its demands, emphasizing that Directors General (DGs) in departments reporting to DA ministers should be selected by panels consisting of DA ministers. This decision, the DA insisted, should not be contested.

The letter also demanded the termination of all current DG contracts in departments desired by the DA, favoring nominees sanctioned by the party. This bold stance has drawn criticism, with some ANC members accusing the DA of practicing its own form of cadre deployment.

DA’s Richard Newton responded to these allegations by distinguishing between appointing qualified individuals and hiring based on personal connections. He clarified that all their demands would ultimately require President Cyril Ramaphosa’s approval. “There is also the proviso in this letter that selected candidates are submitted to the President for approval,” Newton stated.

ANC spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri acknowledged the DA’s demands but deemed them premature, emphasizing that President Ramaphosa should be given the space to announce his cabinet. “The president should be allowed space and time to make the pronouncement on constituting his cabinet as it is his constitutional responsibility,” she said.

Public policy expert Dr. Kagiso “TK” Pooe explained that political parties globally, including the DA in regions like the Western Cape, practice the deployment of trusted bureaucrats to strategic positions. He noted that while the ANC had misused this practice by favoring comrades over qualified candidates, the DA’s demands suggest a preference for their candidates, illustrating a common practice rather than a unique flaw.

Political analyst Professor Sipho Seepe highlighted that DGs appointed by the ANC stem from cadre deployment, raising doubts about their ability to support a new executive’s mandate. He remarked that the DA perceives itself as upholding political morality, seeing no contradiction in its demands compared to the ANC’s practices.

This ongoing debate creates a challenging scenario for President Ramaphosa, as DG appointments are within his jurisdiction.

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