It was on April 20 this year when I published a detailed post in my blog Akanyang Africa in which I asked whether controversial Minister of Co-operative governance and Traditional Affairs, Sicelo Shiceka – after being exposed by Mail and Guardian, The Times and Sunday Times investigations – should have his a** kicked out of government.
I acknowledged at the time that it was unknown whether the minister’s alleged excessive and fruitless spending of us taxpayers’ money was negligent or not and that “until then, what is left of us is to just speculate what should happen and what should not happen”.
In the same month and prior to my blog post, President Jacob Zuma was quoted in media reports saying: “There will be no hesitation if these things that are being said are true. Absolutely no hesitation. I said so before. There are enough reasons for action to be taken”. The president promised that “there is going to be action … and we are not going to take long even to investigate [Shiceka], because these are too serious allegations made against the minister”.
Following Public Protector Thuli Madonsela investigation into allegations against Shiceka, it was found that Shiceka had violated the Executive Ethics Code, the Public Protector Act and the Constitution. Madonsela has since recommended that the president take “serious action against” Shiceka. Madonsela further recommended Secretary of Cabinet amend the definition of “family” in the Ministerial Handbook to avoid any abuse. The protector further recommended that all expenditure incurred by the department be recovered from Shiceka regarding his trip toSwaziland, his accommodation at the One & Only hotel inCape Town and his travel espenses incurred when Mrs. Mntambo visited him inCape Town in June 2009.
Of course civil and opposition parties added their voices to the recalling of Shiceka, with IFP saying Zuma should fire him, and that if he “fails to act on the Public Protector’s report, his actions will make a mockery of all Chapter Nine institutions and our fight against corruption”. Independent Democrat also voiced its concern, saying: “It is now up to President Zuma to take urgent action against Minister Shiceka and fire him from his job”.
Cosatu was “outraged” by a “detailed and indisputable evidence of the most serious violations of not only the Executive Ethics Code, but of the Public Protector Act and even the Constitution” against Shiceka. The union federation said Shiceka “must now resign immediately, and save the President from having to implement the serious remedial action recommended by the Public Protector, which can only mean his dismissal”. SAMWU also said the findings against Shiceka indicated that he had “acted unlawfully, he must go” and that it was “expecting nothing less than decisive action from the President, with regards to this issue”. DA also said Zuma “must act now and fire Minister Shiceka”. This, said DA, will shows that “he [Zuma] is as tough on corruption as he says he is”. “The ball is firmly in his court”.
But Shiceka has hit back at the Protector’s findings against him, calling it “baseless and lacking in evidence”. He told the media that “an injustice has being meted out against him and his rights have been crossly violated”.
The ruling ANC has also acknowledged receipt of the protector’s report and said Zuma “must indeed be afforded the necessary space to apply his mind on the findings in order to arrive at an appropriate decision”.
As a taxpayer I hope that Zuma indeed applies his mind to the protector’s report and that he fires Shiceka. And by firing Shiceka I am not referring to some kind of redeployment to an ambassadorial post as the president has reportedly done with Police Commission Bheki Cele who the public protector also recommended that serious action be taken against him over the controversial R1.7 billion lease deal.
I’m actually referring to firing him and rendering him jobless.
It seems the president often confuses taking “serous action” against those found to have wronged with transferring them from one department to another.
Or worse, it seems the president’s way of dealing with many of these slaapgat and corrupt government ministers/officials is to deploy them as ambassadors to different countries. If that is how Zuma deals with those who have messed up with us taxpayers’ money and those who we’ve now lost confidence in – maybe it is about time we took serious action against Zuma and removed him as our president because he does not seem to understand what “serious action” is. That way we could teach him a thing or two about serious fight against corruption and the corrupt government officials. Or maybe the president is afraid to render those who voted him into power jobless?
Zuma now has enough ammunition and evidence to sack Shiceka and render him jobless irrespective of what favours he might have done for him (during the struggle) just as he promised us in Aril that “there is going to be action” without any hesitation. We do not want any “comprehensive response” from Shiceka as he, Zuma, did from Cele because that – to us taxpayers and South Africans in general – is just plain useless and just politicking and a waste of not only time but resources too. We now hope that Zuma acts. And soon. Very soon.