Tag Archive | Derek Hanekom

New SA cabinet

Who for cabinet?…

NAAfter a week of intense speculation, with the swearing in of Members of Parliament, the election of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and the re-election of Jacob Zuma as President, followed by a gala inauguration process at Union Buildings, the political and financial world held its breath until the moment arose when the composition of the cabinet was announced over the weekend.

Also in the week previous, the first seating of the National Assembly marked noticeable changes in the hierarchy of the new governing alliance party. Strategic seating arrangements displayed the fact that Cyril Ramaphosa took the conspicuous seat allocated for the Deputy President.  In this sense, the mould was cast for a new period in South Africa’s political history at that point.

Ramphosa ZumaSince his defeat by Thabo Mbeki for status in the ANC, Cyril Ramaphosa, chairman of the Student Christian Movement, former secretary-general of the ANC and first secretary National Union of Mineworkers, was deeply involved in the negotiations that led to Nelson Mandela’s release. His involvement with South Africa’s political development is extensive.  He will now bring to cabinet decisions his twenty years of business experience gained whilst remaining as a political heavyweight in waiting.

Old faces

When the seating in Parliament took place, it appeared at the time that the incumbent minister of trade and industry seemed to haveRob+Davies maintained his influence within the ANC caucus and so it was to be.

tito mboweniWith the status-quo being to some extent maintained, one would therefore not expect any major changes or shifts in terms of policy, regulations and government position of matters related to business, the economy and international relations. The “behind the scenes” withdrawal of Tito Mboweni from parliamentary lists was significant since it had been clearly rumoured that he was tipped for the position of finance minister.

If the election of Baleka Mbete as Speaker and the massive influx of ANC cadres from Luthuli House to the National Assembly areMbete,Baleka swornin anything to go by, we can expect a more controlled environment in Parliament, particularly in the light of a reduced majority and the presence of the EEF.   Such tighter control will be evidenced in the nominations of chairpersons to the various Portfolio Committees.

Also in the past week, National Council of Provinces held its first seating. Unlike the National Assembly, 80% of the members of the NCOP are new to the House. Although this House does not particularly influence national, international and economic trends, one might expect significant changes in terms of committee positions on important issues.

Thandi Modise, former premier of the North West was elected chairperson of the NCOP and who is noted for her open-mindedness and approachability.

 The final choice

neneFinally, in a major cabinet reshuffle, President Zuma, announced his choice of ministers. To the surprise of most. he promoted deputy finance minister Nhlanhla Nene to finance minister, replacing minister Pravin Gordhan. Whether minister Nene was groomed for the position or minister Gordhan, who goes to governance and traditional affairs, is needed to sort out the finances and delivery disciplines in local government, remains to be seen. The appointments are nevertheless surprising.

The size of the cabinet apparently is not an issue with either the President or the ANC Alliance.    Clearly, the issues wracking the allianceanclogo are as important as economic issues and time will tell if the appointments are a consolidation of power or a compromise.

President Zuma also confirmed businessman Cyril Ramaphosa as his Deputy President. Considering Ramaphosa’s background and position, his appointment is expected to be welcomed by investors and the private sector.   As we speculated, Rob Davies is to maintain his position as minister of trade and industry, providing some continuity for the business world despite the fact that sparks never seem to fly in this area. However, DTI can be said to have had some success.

Mining and police

Mining minister, Susan Shabangu, who had been criticised for her handling of the strike in the platinum mines now in its fifth month, wasNgoako Ramatlhodi replaced by Ngoako Ramatlhodi, a former deputy minister in the prison service. Minister Shabangu goes to the new ministry of women, part of the Presidency.

radebeThe National Planning Commission and the ministry of performance, monitoring and evaluation have been merged and will be headed by former Justice Minister, Jeff Radebe, thus becoming part of the triad with the President and Deputy President. The total shake up of the security cluster, mining and energy portfolios could be set to have an significant impact on the five month strike in the platinum belt.

Left of centre

Mzwandile Masina has been appointed deputy minister of trade and industry. If there are to be “radical changes”, as President Zuma Mzwandile Masinaanticipated, this is where changes in B-BBEE might occur. Masina was formerly the national convenor of the ANC Youth League and was recently at the centre of a controversy when referring to NUMSA General Secretary, Irvin Jim, he used bad language.

Should Masina have any hold on policy and regulation, one could witness a significant shift in policy to the left, bearing in mind minister Rob Davies is a member of the SACP.

Electric shock

tina-joemattThe new minister of energy, Ms Tina Joemat-Pettersson, emerging from her fisheries complications and other difficult personal issues under investigation, will have her work cut out to get a grip on the energy picture and will have to rely, hopefully, on the many experts in the department of energy. This is before tackling the complicated issues facing the country in such areas as Eskom sustainability, the petroleum and fuels strategy and ISMO.

The new deputy minister of finance is Mcebisi Jonas, former MEC for economic development and environmental affairs of the Eastern Cape provincial government during which time it could be said that the Eastern Cape did not benefit from his term of office.
This is a disappointing appointment.

Madala Masusku, former Mpumalanga MEC for finance, is another provincial MEC who has made cabinet as deputy minister of economic development in a key position without too much experience.

Mr Policeman

Nkosinathi-NhlekoChief whip of the ANC, Nkosinathi Nhleko, previously deputy minister of labour, seems to have been rewarded for caucusing legislation through at the last minute in Parliament at the close of the fourth Parliament and becomes minister of police, whilst incumbent Nathi Mthethwa slips down to minister Paul Matashile’s position, Pallo Jordan’s old post, at arts and culture, Matashile disappearing from the hierarchy it appears, as did Jordan as well.

Also disappearing is Marthinus van Schalkwyk, whose ministry of tourism goes to Derek Hanekom, moving from the ministry of sciencehanekom and technology.

oliphantOn the labour front, experienced Mildred Oliphant stays where she is and continues to implement the four new labour laws thus providing some sort of continuity.

With so many changes, continuity in the short term is the issue.

Start up time

There is clearly going to be a time gap with so many shuffles and structural changes and it might be months before the whole impetus of the fifth government of South Africa gains traction to deal with the economic and delivery problems facing South Africa.

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biofuels become mandatory

derek hanekomBio-fuels brought in by law……

In launching South Africa’s bio-economy strategy, following the failed 2001 national version, minister Derek Hanekom also failed to mention that the reason that no entrants had been incentivised to join to date was because the new strategy now makes it an imperative for fuel companies to buy bio manufacturers output.

The new framework document stated that regulations regarding the mandatory blending of biofuels with petrol and diesel “were among the tools deemed to be the most appropriate legal instrument to achieve the desired outcome”.

October 1 2015

Mandatory blending regulations, which were set to come into effect on October 1, 2015, would guarantee the uptake of all biofuels supplied by licensed biofuels manufacturers by compelling licensed manufacturers of petroleum products and their wholesaling arms to buy and blend all the biofuels made available by licensed biofuels manufacturers.

According to earlier reports, fuel producers would be required to blend a minimum of 5% biodiesel in diesel and between 2% and 10% of bio ethanol in petrol.    Meanwhile, the framework document said an appropriate Biofuels Pricing Framework had also been created by the DoE, in conjunction with National Treasury and other economic departments, to financially incentivise the production of biofuels.

Biodiesel manufacturers would be granted a 50% general fuel levy exemption and would be entitled to accelerated depreciation on their manufacturing facilities and other tax incentives.

Making up for the past

At the launch, Minister Hanekom said that the bio-economy strategy would take the previous strategy from 2001 to the next level, creating an “enabling environment that will allow government departments, industry, venture capital and other stakeholders to move forward with initiatives that will be able to meet the challenges and embrace the opportunities of the future”.

This science-based strategy which was approved by cabinet in November last year positions bio-innovation as an essential factor in achieving the industrial and social development goals of the New Development Plan (NDP).

sorghumAll departments involved

The strategy proposes that bio-innovation will become an integral part in the activities of a wide spectrum of government departments including health, environment, energy and rural development.

Regulations relating to the licensing of manufacturers of biofuels, as well as criteria for the eligibility for government support were also included in the document.

The new bio-economy strategy, the minister said, is aligned to the National Development Plan, which considers science, technology and innovation key to the South African developmental agenda, as advances in these fields underpin advances in the economy and in society.  It is expected by government that by 2030 biotechnology and bio-innovation will be making a “significant contribution to South Africa’s gross domestic product.

Previous articles on this subject
http://parlyreportsa.co.za//energy/doe-talks-biofuels-and-biomass/
http://parlyreportsa.co.za//cabinetpresidential/biofuels-development-stays-in-limbo/

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Pandor and Hanekom in ministerial shuffle

Originally announcing that Naledi Pandor would be acting minister of home affairs, President Zuma’s office confirmed the following day the substantiation of this position, Pandor thus taking up the position of minister of home affairs – the cabinet position vacated by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma who resigned last month to head up the African Union commission in Addis Ababa.

Parliament has just debated the department of home affairs annual report for 2011/2 and both the department of performance, monitoring and evaluation’s report on delivery service targets and the auditor generals’ report on the financials were not as complimentary as was anticipated.

At the same time the president’s office announced that Derek Hanekom was appointed as minister of science and technology, Hanekom having held before the position of deputy science minister.

Hanekom will be deeply involved in the SKA (Square Kilometre Array radio telescope) project – the full dish array and the dense aperture array being constructed in the Karoo, Northern Cape Province.   The core – i.e. the region with the highest concentration of receivers – will be constructed about 80 km from the town of Carnarvon.

The South Africa portion of the SKA project, shared with Western Australia, will host  the largest telescope ever constructed.     Minister Hanekom had just visited the area prior to his appointment.

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