Reginah Mhaule was appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa as Deputy Minister of Basic Education after last year’s elections as part of concessions to David Mabuza following the Nasrec victory. As such, her appointment was glanced with critical lenses with many opinioning that she was rewarded with this post for having sided with the team that backstabbed the losing side at the ANC’s Nasrec conference. The truth is, President Ramaphosa’s hand was forced to bring in people he did not even trust they can deliver on his mandate and it is safe to say that Mhaule, who also had a stint as Deputy Minister of International Relations, was among those people that fitted that description. However, unlike Mabuza, who continues to fail to justify his role in government, the same cannot be said about Mhaule.
Mhaule, who replaced Enver Surty as Angie Motshekga’s second in command, has truly performed beyond expectations. She has been doing a lot of groundwork that has gone unnoticed in the mainstream media, more especially her bid to develop rural schools with necessary resources as part of the department’s quest to improve infrastructure in many schools.
Her boss, Angie Motshega is finding herself in hot water over her mishandling of the reopening of schools and the safety thereof of pupils. Calls continue to mount for Motshekga to be sacked from her position, with Mmusi Maimane’s One South Africa movement at the forefront of that call. While it might sound like an opportunistic moment for the likes of Maimane and other political parties for calling for Motshekga’s head, she has in fact given them good reasons for them to make such a call.
Motshekga’s flip-flopping of the reopening of schools perfectly brought to the fore her disastrous leadership in that portfolio. It must be noted that she has overseen the ministry for over a decade now and it has been disaster after the other. Upon the President’s call for national lockdown, Motshekga knew that schools will need to reopen once lockdown restrictions were relaxed, but still had no measures in place to ensure that when that time arrives, the pupils will return with the assurances that their lives will be safe against the Coronavirus pandemic. It becomes easy for one to support the call for her removal in this regard because she is failing dismally to show leadership.
Now, since she was part of the Gauteng delegates that supported Ramaphosa at Nasrec, it becomes a dilemma for Ramaphosa to even entertain the growing call for her sacking. However, the President, as he has already in several times demonstrated that he is loyal to those who are loyal to him, must instead reshuffle Motshekga to another department. Mhaule might not be as popular as Panyaza Lesufi, who has public support to take over the ministry, however, she has demonstrated that she can fulfil her responsibilities with impeccability.
Ramaphosa should look no further for the right person to head this ministry that truly needs new energy. Ramaphosa must reshuffle his cabinet and re-arrange his soldiers for the fight against this pandemic. Those like Mosthekga who have proven to be the weakest link need to make way for new refresh and recharged soldiers like Mhaule.