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From questionable decisions to head-scratching statements. Just how qualified are our leaders in SA Government?

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Over recent months, more and more South Africans have found themselves questioning the South African Government’s leadership. With ludicrous lockdown regulations resulting in a crumbling economy, coupled with nonsensical decisions, who can blame us?

We have seen decisions being made by Ministers, Heads of State, all saying things which leave us scratching our heads. Asking just one question, ” Is this person the correct person for the job?”

We, however, must keep in mind, having a job in the public eye, constantly being scrutinised, is a mammoth task in its own right. You cannot slip up and say the incorrect thing without it becoming a media sensation. Thanks to the internet, many politicians have found what they said, transformed into the lyrics of a catchy song or a comical meme. 

But when looking at these blunders from a serious standpoint, we as South Africans need leadership from people who are not only qualified for the job (this is a given) but who also represent their respective positions correctly. All while improving on their predecessor’s achievements whilst not add to any failures.

As South African Citizens, we accept rather than except and this is a culture we must change. 

Never the less, we decided to look at some of the leaders who have been in the limelight as of late. Firstly, what are their qualifications? And equally important, are they suited for their position?

Minister of Police – Bheki Cele

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons. Creator: MARCELLO CASAL JR Information extracted from IPTC Photo Metadata.

Our top hat totting, mafia looking Police Minister is a man who finds himself in the hot seat from time to time. Yes, he appears to be determined to get to the root of crime. But is Cele qualified or better yet, the right person for his position? After all, he is in our history, the Police Commissioner, who was once suspended and subsequently dismissed (By Jacob Zuma) for charges of corruption.  

Yes, he was acquitted of the charges and currently, the trendy Bheki Cele is showing off his muscle during this lockdown period. With strong policing taking place, coupled with mass motivation in enforcing lockdown regulations on citizens. 

According to the official government website, Cele’s academic qualifications shows that he holds a teacher’s diploma.

Cele, was the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries from May 2014 until February 2018, after which he became the Minister of Police and was re-appointed in May 2019. 

He was the National Commissioner of the SAPS from July 2009 until 2011. Prior to that, n 1994, he was elected to the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Legislature as the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Safety and Security. He was later appointed as Chairperson of Chairpersons in the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature.

From 2004 to 2009, he was a member of the Executive Committee for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison in KwaZulu-Natal. In this capacity, Mr Cele helped find solutions to the taxi conflicts in the province, leading successful anti-crime campaigns, and promoting road safety on provincial roads and highways. He has also championed rural development, through prioritising road infrastructure development to previously neglected communities.

Mr Cele was a member of the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress and a founding member of the National Education Union of South Africa and has vast experience in the field of education.

Controversially, General Cele was also dismissed as national police chief in June 2012. At the time, Former President, Jacob Zuma told reported decided to release General Cele from his duties. This is after he referred to the board of inquiry mandated to establish whether Cele acted corruptly, dishonestly, or with an undeclared conflict of interest in relation to two police lease deals, signed with business tycoon Roux Shabangu—one for a building in Pretoria, another for a building in Durban.

According to Zuma, the board found General Cele to be unfit for office and recommended his removal from office in terms of the provisions of section 8(6)(b)(v) of the South African Police Service Act No. 68 of 1995.

Despite this, in November 2013, he was placed on the ANC’s list of preferred candidates to go to parliament. President Ramaphosa also appointed him to his current chair.

Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs – Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons Source: File: John Kerry and Nkosazana-Dlamini 2014 Author: U.S. Department of State

Our beloved Dlamini-Zuma is definitely not one of South Africa’s most liked officials at the moment. Due to her unjustified and somewhat sketchy reasoning for overturning a Presidents decision to lift the ban on smoking and subsequently driving it to the point of vertically collapsing an industry. 

Dlamini-Zuma was appointed as the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs in May 2019. Prior to her appointment, she was Minister in The Presidency: Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation from 27 February 2018 to 25 May 2019.

What are her academic qualifications you ask?

Dr Dlamini-Zuma holds a BSc degree in Zoology and Botany from the University of Zululand (1971); MB ChB from the University of Bristol (1978) and a Diploma in Tropical Child Health from the School of Tropical Medicine, University of Liverpool (1986).

What many don’t know, is that Dlamini Zuma is a recipient of the Honorary Doctorate of Law from the University of Natal which she received in 1995. As well as an Honorary Doctorate of Law from the University of Bristol in 1996; Doctor of Medicine degree (Honoris Causa) from the University of Transkei in 1997; Honorary Degree from MEDUNSA in 1999;  She also received an Honorary Professorship from the Belarusian State University in 2007.

(Worthy of noting:  An honorary degree is an academic degree for which a university (or other degree-awarding institution) has waived all the usual requirements, such as matriculation, attendance, course credits, a dissertation, and the passing of comprehensive examinations.)

Apart from receiving multiple honorary qualifications, DR Dlamini – Zuma racked up many awards over the years. And the one worth mentioning is, of course, her award for: Tobacco-Free World (WHO) which was awarded to her on 17 May 1999. 

With numerous honorary titles to her name, Dr Dlamini-Zuma did extensive work outside of South Africa. This includes working as a House Officer in both Frenchay Hospital in Bristol and with the Canadian Red Cross Memorial Hospital in Berkshire, England. She also worked as a Medical Officer in Paediatrics at Mbabane Government Hospital in Swaziland.

She has also worked as a Research Scientist at the Medical Research Council in Durban from 1991 to 1994. As well as serving as a member of the Steering Committee, National Aids Co-ordinating Committee of South Africa in 1992.

Holding numerous titles, boasting vast experience within the health sector as well as having a firm knowledge of business. One can only hope for better solutions to surface form Dr Dlamini – Zuma in the near future. As her current decisions and outlooks are on the verge of costing our country Billions in Rands and millions in jobs. 

Public Protector – Busisiwe Mkhwebane

Screenshot from YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUsCjZl7pKI (Author -eNCA)

Busisiwe Mkhwebane is a South African advocate, who has served as the Public Protector since 2016.

Recently, she made national headlines when she approached the High Court in Pretoria, to put forward a judgment, which concluded the Public Protector’s report on witness protection matters involving two KZN whistle-blowers, which should be set aside and declared invalid.

In the report, Mkhwebane found that Police Minister, Bheki Cele, and the SAPS failed to provide protection to whistle-blowers on corruption and police killings in KZN.

The matter went to court and while her intentions were noble, her legal team withdrew her case. Advocate William Mokhari went as far as to say that Mkhwebane does not know the basics of the legal system and he acted to avoid a personal cost order on her behalf.

As the Public Protector, does Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane have the necessary qualifications to hold her position and handle such cases based on the above?

When diving into her qualifications, Mkhwebane holds B. Proc and LLB degrees from the University of Limpopo, 1989-1992. She also possesses a Diploma in Corporate Law as well as a Higher Diploma in Tax Law, both from the University of Johannesburg. 

Not only has she worked as a full-time Public Prosecutor, she also worked in the Department of Justice; Head office, to work as Legal Administration Officer within International Relations division. Her area of responsibility was extradition law and mutual legal assistance. She was also trained in Siracusa, Italy on Extradition Law.

She was part of the team that drafted South Africa’s Country Report on Human and People’s Rights which was deposited to the African Union. Furthermore, she was a member of the Coordinating Committee that drafted the National Action Plan on Human Rights, which was deposited to the United Nations High Commissioner on 10 December 1998.

She worked as a Senior Researcher at the South African Human Rights Commission from 1998 to 1999, where she was tasked with compiling a country report on the status of human rights in South Africa. She further worked for the Public Protector from 1999 to 2005.

While her CV sports numerous accolades, she is shrouded in a number of controversies which do pose a ream of questions.

During July 2019, the Legal Practice Council (LPC) deliberated on a call for her to be struck from the roll of advocates. The National Association of Democratic Lawyers also called on Mkhwebane to resign and for her conduct to be investigated.

Political parties such as the Democratic Alliance and the Congress of the People have also called for Mkhwebane to be removed as Public Protector.

With her own legal team stating she does not know the basics of the legal systems, while political parties and civil society organisations question her fitness to hold office, one needs to wonder, is she the correct person for the job?

Does she hold office because she once held a close relationship with Former President, Jacob Zuma? Or does she really know what is going on and simply is cast in a negative light?

What are your thoughts on our officials’ qualifications? Do you feel that Bheki Cele should be in charge of the police when he only has a teacher’s diploma? Should Dlamini-Zuma hold a position of power when the bulk of her titles are honorary degrees? And, should the Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, be in a position of power when so many are questioning her ability to hold office?

Questioning our leaders is not defiant, it is your right as a citizen of this country. And if we had done this earlier on, just think of how many current problems would have been avoided. They work for us, not the other way around. Government is not meant to have millionaires or billionaires who are involved in business and trade, as it distracts them from their duties as a civil servant which are, protecting and serving, the country and people, of the Republic of South Africa and all who call it home. 

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