22 October 2008

The Times - ANC Alliance seeks two-tier Cabinet


The ANC Alliance partners have proposed a two-tier cabinet structure, which is aimed at advancing the government’s developmental priorities.

"This would be presided over by a Council of State comprised of Senior Ministers heading key clusters or areas of government work, with a second tier Cabinet," according to a statement after a two-day summit held to determine economic policy for the new government.

The ANC Alliance partners also said it was imperative for South Africa to be self-reliant in order to survive the crippling global economic crisis and address issues such as unemployment and poverty.

"South Africa has grown from being a net exporter to being an importer of food and this needs to be addressed.

"Policy must be geared to increase food production and safeguard food security so that we rely less on imports," a statement issued after the summit said.

This, they said, would help make food affordable and address growing starvation and unemployment in the country.

The alliance undertook to change policies they believed to be dysfunctional, and proposed the establishment of a planning commission to oversee delivery in various spheres of government.

"There is a need for both continuity and change. There are policies and programmes we can build on, while others require review, and in many cases persisting problems relate to poor institutional coherence and co-ordination within the state," said ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe.

The proposed planning commission, which will possibly be headed by the presidency, was expected to be active soon after the 2009 general elections.

"The Planning Commission would promote the alignments of government budgets with developmental planning, set broad targets through medium term and long term plans, conduct strategic risk assessment and act as secretariat to the council of state," the alliance said.

The Times - ANC Alliance seeks two-tier Cabinet


So, let me get this straight. They want to add an additional tier, or layer, to government, with the objective of making things run more efficiently? I fail to see how this will work.

I also hope that the policies and programmes that they hope to review include the land redistribution plans. Honestly, I do not think simply redistributing land will solve any problems (just look at what it did in Zimbabwe).

Look, don’t get me wrong. I agree that the current land distribution is a result of unfair policies in the past, but simply redistributing land will not solve any problems – in fact, it will double them. Not only will it reduce the food production in the country, but it will also increase unemployment. Long term plans need to be thought through around land distribution so that it caters for a growth in both food production and the job sector.

It is possibly time for the ANC to start thinking about the people rather than their pockets. And I think the people feel the same way.

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