Former communications minister scores a D

On Monday 12 December the Democratic Alliance (DA) presented its appraisal of the performance of each cabinet minister over the past year.

In its ‘cabinet report card’ the DA graded ministers from an “A” to an “F” according to four broad criteria: Direction, Attitude, Attendance and Organizational skills.

“Overall, the combined Cabinet just missed an average score of a D, or 50%. There is clearly much work to be done,” the DA said in a press statement. “This applies in particular to President Jacob Zuma, who received an F”.

When it came to communications the DA gave former communications minister Roy Padayachie a D.

“His single year in Communications did not give him much time to make a meaningful impact. However, two matters stand out. The Minister’s commitment to delivering affordable and accessible ICT services to all South Africans was questioned following his department’s decision to opt for more expensive converters in the digital migration programme,” the DA said.

“The widely punted “turnaround plan” for the SABC raised expectations that an end to the crisis at the public broadcaster may be in sight, but the slow progress in making permanent appointments to key positions hampered this process.”

The DA added that while Padayachie’s attendance was poor, he displayed a commitment to transparency and responsiveness.

“Administration of this department has in some cases been poor, particularly with regard to irregular and wasteful expenditure. Additional examples include that the department left 33.2% of its budget unspent in 2010/11, it had a high vacancy rate (28.6% as at 31 March 2011), and had a large number of employees serving in senior positions in an acting capacity,” the DS said.

“Minister Padayachie did well with the problematic department that he inherited. His move to the Public Service and Administration Department will hopefully herald positive improvements for that department.”

“His successor, Dina Pule, needs to consolidate the department’s policy direction, particularly regarding the SABC.”

Roy Padayachie
Roy Padayachie

Top performers

The Class of 2011’s top performer this year was Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, who scored an A.

“Minister Pandor’s biggest achievement has been her dedicated lobbying for South Africa to host the prestigious Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope. Winning the bid will establish South Africa as a leader in innovation, science and technology, and will have numerous enterprise and job-creation spinoffs,” the DS said.

“Despite a heavy travelling schedule to market the SKA, Minister Pandor has managed to be one of the most regular Cabinet attendees in the National Assembly. The Minister’s ability to balance the demands of her department with her obligations to Parliament should be applauded.”

Other high achievers included Minister in the Presidency, Trevor Manuel, Mineral Resources Minister, Susan Shabangu, and Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan.

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Former communications minister scores a D