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Ramaphosa charts a new course for his administration

President Cyril Ramaphosa was drawing a line between his administration and that of Jacob Zuma’s – pressing for a joined-up government that works in concert across all spheres.

President Cyril Ramaphosa in Parliament on 17 July 2019. Picture: @PresidencyZA/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - President Cyril Ramaphosa has charted a new course for his administration that he said would bring about better coordination between all departments and across all spheres of government.

Presenting the Presidency’s budget vote on Wednesday, Ramaphosa referred to the many Cabinet reshuffles and high turnover of civil servants under his predecessor Jacob Zuma.

In a wide-ranging speech, Ramaphosa said he wanted an end to the silo mentality that saw clinics built in rural areas without planning for road access or accommodation for health workers.

"There were frequent reshuffles of ministers and a high turnover of senior managers at both national and provincial level, that led to instability and misalignment – and created quite a lot of confusion."

Ramaphosa was drawing a line between his administration and that of Zuma’s – pressing for a joined-up government that works in concert across all spheres and departments for better planning and delivery.

“The executive will speak with one voice – it will not pursue pet projects that are disjointed and misaligned with national priorities. It will epitomise a caring state that is prudent with public finances and that derives its respect from the masses through hard work and dedication and not outward excesses like bling and blue lights.”

But Ramaphosa was accused of putting talk shops ahead of action by the Democratic Alliance’s Mmusi Maimane and was savaged by the Economic Freedom Fighters' Julius Malema for his perceived protection of Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan in his battle with the public protector.

ANSWERS

Opposition parties would be looking for answers when Ramaphosa returned to the National Assembly on Thursday afternoon to reply to debate on his Presidency budget vote.

The parties wanted answers to more immediate questions, like the terms of deployment for the army in gang-ridden Cape Town suburbs, and whether he would agree to a dedicated committee to exercise oversight over the Presidency.

Claiming Ramaphosa has talked more than acted, Maimane’s asked him to say on Thursday whether he would go before the Zondo state capture inquiry to put his own version of events.

“We need action Mr President, and we need it now.”

In his reply to debate on his State of the Nation Address in June, Ramaphosa avoided directly responding to the barbs hurled at him by opposition speakers. He may take the same route on Thursday.