Newly appointed Small Business Development Deputy Minister promises to help transform economy and support entrepreneurs.
NEWLY-appointed Deputy Minister of Small Business Development, Cassel Mathale, has pledged to help radically transform the economy, de-racialise it and ensure entrepreneurs get more support from the department.
He says, together with Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu, they would do so because they are both committed to the resolutions of the ANC’s 54th national elective conference.
In a telephonic interview with African Times on Tuesday, hours after being sworn in, the former Limpopo Premier expressed gratitude to the ruling party and President Cyril Ramaphosa for showing confidence in him.
Mathale’s political lifeline came seven years after the ANC national executive committee (NEC), under former President Jacob Zuma, had unceremoniously booted him out of office as premier in 2011.
They placed his provincial government under administration – for alleged tender corruption, fraud, nepotism and financial mismanagement. The former Limpopo ANC chairperson was then redeployed to the National Assembly as an MP.
“I have been given a responsibility together with Minister Lindiwe Zulu, and working with her, I can assure our people, business people, that they will get the necessary support from this department because we are both committed to the governing party, the African National Congress and policies of government to radically transform the economy of this country, to de-racialise it to ensure that when we talk about non-racialism in South Africa, it’s reflected even in terms of the ownership patterns of this country,” Mathale said.
“That’s what we are committed to do and that’s what we are going to make sure happens.”
In a late-night cabinet reshuffle on Monday, Ramaphosa fired 10 ministers and moved some around in what appeared to be a careful balancing act between improving governance and uniting ANC factions ahead of next year’s general elections.
Most of the casualties were ministers who were either loyal to Zuma or implicated in State Capture by the controversial Gupta family.
They included former Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi, who was fired less than a year after Zuma appointed him, as well as former Coghta Minister Des Van Rooyen, former Mining Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane and former Energy Minister David Mahlobo.
Beneficiaries of the reshuffle included former Limpopo Transport MEC, Pinkie Kekana, who was appointed as Deputy Minister of Communications and ex-Limpopo Agriculture MEC Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba who also promoted to the Ministry of State Security. ANC deputy president David Mabuza was appointed as the Deputy President of the Republic, in a move which invoked mixed reactions from the public and opposition parties. The Mpumalanga premier’s ascendancy to power cemented his place as a rising star in the ruling party two months after he engineered the outcome of the 54th ANC national conference in December in Ramaphosa’s favour.
Mathale said the new cabinet, which he said was not factional, was proof that Ramaphosa was sticking to his commitment to unite the party by “deploying ANC leaders who the ANC believes are capable, not who supported who”.
He described his removal as Limpopo premier as a “testing” moment for him, which prompted some of his supporters to demand he leave the ANC.
“In the ANC, from time to time, our commitment and belief in the movement get tested, and I think in my case, I was given the highest responsibility in Limpopo to serve as the premier of the province and the ANC felt that I have served it and I must be redeployed and they did that,” Mathale added.
“When they redeployed me to Parliament I was not given a responsibility. I wasa backbencher. If I was in the ANC for positions, I would have left, but I stayed there for four years from 2013 to date, and this is the fifth year, because I was not there for positions but to serve.”
He added that it was “a testing period for me” when he was ordered to resign before his PEC disbanded. Mathale was replaced by Premier Stan Mathabatha.
“Many people, because they were angry with what I went through, asked ‘why don’t you leave’. Others in the ANC were even trying to put me out of the organisation to join other organisations like the EFF, because of my relationship with Comrade Julius [Malema]. Of course, I couldn’t stop relating with him.”
Mathale said he continued relating with Malema but remained an ANC member “through and through”.
“When they say, we think you have served and you must go and do something else which appears to be a demotion, you go there.
“You don’t ask why are you sending me there because when they deployed you – and because, like last night, when they called me the president and the secretary general – I didn’t ask why are you deploying me,” Mathale said.
He said he viewed his appointment as a sign that the ANC acknowledged his contribution and commitment to serve the people.
Ramaphosa further announced the return of Nhlanhla Nene as finance minister and moved Malusi Gigaba back to Home Affairs. Former ANC Treasurer General Zweli Mkhize was appointed as Minister for Corporative Governance and Cooperation (Coghta) while ANC chairman Gwede Mantashe took over the Energy Ministry.
Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was appointed Minister in the Presidency responsible for Performance and Evaluation, while ANC Women’s League president Bathabile Dlamini was moved from social development ministry .Ramaphosa added that the positions of Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises and Deputy Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation will remain vacant. See Page 16