Jacob Zuma

Jacob Zuma

On December 7 the Mail & Guardian published a long-supressed forensic report by auditing firm KPMG that lays out, in staggering detail, President Jacob Zuma`s financial incontinence and names arms companies, banks and business people who were his willing...

Kgalema Motlanthe

Kgalema Motlanthe

This was a tricky year for Kgalema Motlanthe, who had to work with President Jacob Zuma, although it was clear they were always set to go head to head for the ANC`s leadership. But the two behaved like gentlemen, hiding any public discomfort with each other. This...

Collins Chabane

Collins Chabane

This department was established by President Jacob Zuma in 2009 after an ANC resolution taken in Polokwane to hold the government to account and ensure it met targets of the five key priorities of government: education, rural development, housing, job creation and...

Aaron Motsoaledi

Aaron Motsoaledi

Aaron Motsoaledi practises what he preaches. When he underwent surgery this year, he did so at a government hospital. The same is true for his family: he refused to allow his daughter to have her molars removed at a private hospital, and his children attend state...

Angie Motshekga

Angie Motshekga

This was the year of the textbook, of litigation for basic education rights and of Angie Motshekga`s disgrace. Contrary to her and her spluttering spin meisters` more puerile public pronouncements, civil society organisations do not turn to the courts on a whim...

Bathabile Dlamini

Bathabile Dlamini

Minister Bathabile Dlamini hardly needs a report card to reflect her performance: this year many charities reduced services or faced closure because of funding shortages. These included well-established organisations such as Rape Crisis. The cash strapped...

Blade Nzimande

Blade Nzimande

The populist politician and the principled educationist have always coexisted uneasily within Blade Nzimande, but this year the former won hands down in an explosion of self-serving crassness. The spectacle of his marching on an art gallery in May and calling for a...

Derek Hanekom

Derek Hanekom

Grade: Too soon to grade Naledi Pandor left big shoes to fill, but for once the reshuffle went the path of continuity and a man who has been in the department for nearly a decade was picked for the top job. Even though Derek Hanekom took over the department - one of...

Dikobe Ben Martins

Dikobe Ben Martins

Grade: Too soon to gradeDikobe Ben Martins was thrust into the fire as the thorny issue of e-tolling reached a climax. A mid-year Cabinet reshuffle hoisted Sibusiso Ndebele out of the hot seat at the transport ministry and Martins, a poet and artist, into it. Martins,...

Dina Deliwe Pule

Dina Deliwe Pule

It has been a turbulent year for Dina Pule. She has been accused of nepotism, she had to implement the government`s plan for Telkom - which the financial markets are still unclear about -  and she has been taken to court by e.tv over the migration of digital...

Dipuo Peters

Dipuo Peters

It is three years since the department of energy was divorced from its bigger, sexier government partner, the department of mineral resources. This year, to her credit, Dipuo Peters successfully launched the renewable energy ­independent power procurement programme,...

Ebrahim Patel

Ebrahim Patel

The greatest achievement of this ­department was to hold a ­successful ­economic indaba that brought together labour, ­government and business following a crippling strike season that was the worst in years, a downgrading of South Africa`s ­economic rating and the...

Edna Molewa

Edna Molewa

Edna Molewa actually runs two separate departments - environmental and water affairs. But for political expediency the two, which exist independently and have their own offices and huge problems, have been brought under her sole control. This stretches her thin, which...

Fikile Mbalula

Fikile Mbalula

Fikile Mbalula has had a terrible year in terms of his political career in the ANC, but his performance in government has been stellar. His first effort that deserves commendation is his plan to revive sport in schools, which has been on the back burner for the past...

Gugile Nkwinti

Gugile Nkwinti

The spotlight moves to Gugile Nkwinti next year as the 100th anniversary of the 1913 Land Act approaches.Among long-awaited decisions from the government is whether the land claim process will be reopened and whether those who lost their land before the Act was passed...

Jeff Radebe

Jeff Radebe

For a minister specifically tasked with upholding the Constitution, it was a serious blow when the Constitutional Court ruled in October that Jeff Radebe, in advising the president on the appointment of a new prosecutions head, acted "inconsistently" with South...

Lindiwe Sisulu

Lindiwe Sisulu

Grade: Too soon to grade Lindiwe Sisulu started off her new job on a high note. Not only did she save President Jacob Zuma the embarrassment of a massive strike by more than one ­million public service workers a few months ahead of the ANC`s electoral conference in...

Lulu Xingwana

Lulu Xingwana

First the good news: according to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the sector, the department has become more visible and effective in co-ordinating and getting other national departments and spheres of government involved in programmes that are trying to get...

Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

With Maite Nkoana-Mashabane at the helm, South Africa`s foreign policy has made some solid gains internationally. The department is administratively sound and has had clean audits for the past three years. A diplomat in the department, who has closely watched...

Malusi Gigaba

Malusi Gigaba

Malusi Gigaba was always going to be proactive regarding the state-owned enterprises, and he is developing a reputation as a hard taskmaster. But there are concerns that his department lacks the skills to oversee the very large organisations in his portfolio,...

Marthinus Van Schalkwyk

Marthinus Van Schalkwyk

Having been in the same cabinet shoes for the better part of a decade, Marthinus van Schalkwyk has the immediate advantage of continuity. As a result, he has a good grasp of his product, is relatively popular and knows what makes the industry tick. He has established...

Mildred Oliphant

Mildred Oliphant

Mildred Oliphant appears to have turned the tide at what used to be one of the worst performing departments into an effective organisation, the main priority of which is to deliver services to all. Under her leadership the department has posted a clean bill of health...

Naledi Pandor

Naledi Pandor

In October, Naledi Pandor took over home affairs, a department historically plagued by corruption, skills shortages and incompetence. But her predecessor, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who is now African Union Commission chairperson, successfully ­implemented a turnaround...

Nathi Mthethwa

Nathi Mthethwa

The presence of Nathi Mthethwa was not felt when South Africa faced one of its biggest crises this year. Following the police`s tragic massacre of 34 miners in Marikana, the country appeared rudderless. And it felt that way again when violent labour unrest flared...

Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula

Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula

Grade: Too soon to grade A little more than six months ago, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula inherited a desk that must have been groaning under the weight of unresolved issues left behind by Lindiwe Sisulu. She has not made great strides in resolving many of those issues, but...

Paul Mashatile

Paul Mashatile

Like his sector in general, Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile has had an interesting year. Two landmark occurrences influenced public perceptions of the arts and officialdom in South Africa - one positive and one negative. The first was the opening of the...

Pravin Gordhan

Pravin Gordhan

Pravin Gordhan has managed to maintain fiscal discipline and inflation-targeting in the midst of tough global conditions, which is impressive. He has also earned praise for his measures to clamp down on public debt in his medium-term budget policy statement, sending a...

Richard Baloyi

Richard Baloyi

The only reason Richard Baloyi should not immediately be frogmarched out of his office is the traditional affairs part of the job. At a time when traditional leaders are keen to reassert themselves and being frustrated in their ambitions, he has quietly managed to...

Robert Davies

Robert Davies

Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies has had a fair amount to deal with in 2012. Firstly there was the matter of dealing with Consumer Commissioner Mamodupi Mohlala, who was determined to fight against being replaced even though many saw her as a divisive figure....

Sibusiso Ndebele

Sibusiso Ndebele

Sibusiso Ndebele has been at the helm of the correctional services portfolio for only six months. He was moved from the transport ministry in June at the height of the e-tolling saga. It is widely believed it was because of his poor handling of the matter, which...

Siyabonga Cwele

Siyabonga Cwele

Perhaps this minister should get some credit for not being Cecil Burgess, chairperson of the joint standing committee on intelligence.Burgess attempted to infuse the practice of intelligence oversight with some kind of paint-on patriotism ­- unpleasantly sticky, but...

Susan Shabangu

Susan Shabangu

This has been a disastrous year for South Africa`s mining industry, particularly the platinum sector, which has been hurt by market conditions and strikes. Although Susan Shabangu cannot be solely blamed for events beyond her control, there are some issues that fell...

Thulas Nxesi

Thulas Nxesi

When Thulas Nxesi inherited this department a year ago, his predecessor, Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde, had just been sacked for her role in the police leasing scandal. The public protector and the Special Investigating Unit revealed depressing levels of graft there and the...

Tina Joemat-Pettersson

Tina Joemat-Pettersson

Tina Joemat-Pettersson is on a mission to uncover corruption in fisheries and it could turn out to be an unhealthy obsession because proof of malfeasance still has to be unveiled. In the meantime she has lost many of her staff, who have either resigned or been...

Tokyo Sexwale

Tokyo Sexwale

Before 2009, Tokyo Sexwale was known as housing minister, but his post was renamed human settlements so that he would have the power to plan integrated settlements and be responsible for sanitation and electricity. In reality, he does not have these powers or he has...

Trevor Manuel

Trevor Manuel

This is almost certainly the last report card we will ever write for Trevor Manuel, the Cabinet minister who has earned the most consistently high scores from us over nearly two decades in government. He has declined nomination for the ANC`s national executive...

Hlengiwe Mkhize

Hlengiwe Mkhize

The new higher education and training minister, Hlengiwe Mkhize, will have her hands full in January explaining how President Jacob Zuma’s grand plan of providing free higher education to the poor and working-class students is going to work. The Heher commission,...