Jacob Zuma

Jacob Zuma

Practice, they say, makes perfect. And with almost five years in office as South Africa`s fourth democratic president, one might have expected Jacob Zuma`s presidency to mature and even improve as he grew into the role. Instead, Zuma`s performance has deteriorated...

Kgalema Motlanthe

Kgalema Motlanthe

The abiding memory of Kgalema Motlanthe in the past five years is of a man who sat uncomfortably under a president whose leadership qualities he did not respect. The surprise is that this arrangement between the two men lasted for five years, even after Motlanthe...

Collins Chabane

Collins Chabane

Collins Chabane was relatively unknown on the national stage in 2009 when President Jacob Zuma appointed him to a new ministry conceived by the ANC. Chabane prefers to keep below the radar and has spent considerable time putting together a team and sharpening...

Aaron Motsoaledi

Aaron Motsoaledi

It is ironic and anomalous that someone considered to be an upstanding character and a competent state official by a majority of diverse players in South Africa`s health sector presided over the further breakdown of its public healthcare system in 2012. This year, the...

Angie Motshekga

Angie Motshekga

Easily the most interesting thing about Angie Motshekga this year was Helen Zille. The Democratic Alliance leader made it her curious task to argue, in three tortuous SA Today epistles, the unusual case that Motshekga has been the best post-1994 education minister....

Bathabile Dlamini

Bathabile Dlamini

Bathabile Dlamini can bask in the glory of her ministry`s clean audit report for the 2012-2013 financial year. The auditor general found that the department achieved an overall spending rate of 99.1% for the financial year. The bulk of the department`s annual budget...

Ben Martins

Ben Martins

Grade: Too early to sayEnergy Minister Ben Martins has only been in the chair for a few months and has benefited from the reflected glory of predecessor Dipuo Peters`s role in the successful renewable energy procurement programme. This initiative was characterised by...

Blade Nzimande

Blade Nzimande

With the end of Blade Nzimande's five-year tenure in sight, there is a double perversity about what his major legacy now looks certain to be: the grossest assault on university autonomy and academic freedom since apartheid. The first perversity is that Nzimande took...

Connie September

Connie September

Grade: Too early to sayBecause minister Connie September has only been in the driving seat for less than six months, this report card is mainly an assessment of the department`s performance.Almost two decades into democracy, there is still a backlog of 2.1‑million...

Derek Hanekom

Derek Hanekom

The Square Kilometre Array has put the department on the government`s radar and focused money and attention on the science and technology space. Most of the department`s relatively small budget, which increased to R6.2-billion in 2013-2014 from R4.4-billion in...

Dipuo Peters

Dipuo Peters

Grade: Too early to say The journey to improve South Africa's transport network is a long one, and with each Cabinet reshuffle it looks ever more like a relay race. Dipuo Peters now holds the baton. Chopping and changing has seen the department slip into a leaderless...

Ebrahim Patel

Ebrahim Patel

With economic growth for the third quarter coming in at its lowest in four years, about as long as the department of economic development has been in existence, Ebrahim Patel must be relieved the year is coming to an end. Established in 2009, the department continues...

Jeff Radebe

Jeff Radebe

Mxolisi Nxasana`s appointment as the national director of public prosecutions in October, after almost two years during which there was no permanent director, could not save Jeff Radebe from a poor score for 2013. The lack of a permanent boss at the National...

Lechesa Tsenoli

Lechesa Tsenoli

Grade: Too early to sayYou have to give Lechesa Tsenoli full marks for bravery. He had been involved in parliamentary oversight of co-operative governance and traditional affairs before he was appointed as its head in July, and he took the job nonetheless. As acts of...

Lindiwe Sisulu

Lindiwe Sisulu

Lindiwe Sisulu`s decision to launch a new school of government, aimed at providing compulsory training for public servants, is noteworthy, but her critics have questioned why millions will be spent to train officials for something they were hired to do. Sisulu...

Lulu Xingwana

Lulu Xingwana

Perhaps the biggest triumph for Lulu Xingwana has been her outright rejection of the controversial Traditional Courts Bill. This has earned her praise from most organisations for women`s rights because this piece of legislation would have rolled back the gains rural...

Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

Maite Nkoana-Mashabane concludes her five-year term having improved President Jacob Zuma's and South Africa's international profile. Since 2009 the country has been building on its achievements and has stepped up its interactions with the rest of the continent and the...

Malusi Gigaba

Malusi Gigaba

Malusi Gigaba is by almost all accounts an effective, hard-working minister who understands his portfolio better than most. He was clear when he took the job that he would be an active shareholder in South Africa`s state-owned enterprises (SOEs). In line with the Zuma...

Marthinus Van Schalkwyk

Marthinus Van Schalkwyk

With inadequate political credentials, Marthinus van Schalkwyk has justified his stay in Cabinet long after the demise of his New National Party by actually doing his work. Tourism figures have improved year by year and his department has consistently tried to...

Mildred Oliphant

Mildred Oliphant

Mildred Oliphant is basking in the sun of a department that, for a third year under her leadership, has received an unqualified audit report. Although this suggests that she has been able to turn the tide, the improvement is largely on the financial management side...

Nathi Mthethwa

Nathi Mthethwa

There are two sides to the charismatic minister of police. On a positive note, Nathi Mthethwa has proved from the start of his five-year term to be accessible; he listens when stakeholders ask him to tackle issues such as rural safety. He has invited research groups...

Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula

Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula

Being the political face of a military involved in conflict has to be one of the toughest jobs in government. In her first full year in office, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula had to deal with the consequences of soldiers coming home in body bags from the Central African...

Paul Mashatile

Paul Mashatile

Paul Mashatile has spent the past five years looking over his shoulder, worried that he could be next each time a reshuffle was announced. As the leader of the province that tried unsuccessfully to oust Jacob Zuma as ANC president (Gauteng) he was lucky to survive and...

Pravin Gordhan

Pravin Gordhan

Pravin Gordhan appears to be a bit of a late bloomer. His medium-term budget showed an encouraging decisiveness that many felt was lacking in the past. These include the introduction of the youth wage subsidy, stalled by labour, and clamping down on Cabinet spending....

Robert Davies

Robert Davies

Rob Davies can list some successes this year, including the long-awaited Bill establishing economic development zones, but other legislation drawn up by his department has not been as well received. There are also some questions about whether policy from the...

Sibusiso Ndebele

Sibusiso Ndebele

It is not every day that the Democratic Alliance (DA) thinks an ANC minister knows what he is doing. Therefore, it was not surprising that Sbu Ndebele almost fell off his chair in Parliament towards the end of the year when DA MP James Selfe showered him with praise....

Siyabonga Cwele

Siyabonga Cwele

The secrecy to do with governing state security makes assessment of this portfolio perennially problematic. It must be judged by the visible part of the intelligence iceberg, which in this financial year is a wallowing R4-billion behemoth. What was visible...

Susan Shabangu

Susan Shabangu

There were high hopes for Minister Susan Shabangu in the early years of her appointment to the mineral resources portfolio. She stood up to calls for nationalisation, committed to slashing lengthy mining licence adjudication procedures by introducing the South African...

Thulas Nxesi

Thulas Nxesi

Thulas Nxesi is South Africa's handyman-in-chief, overseeing the construction and maintenance of state buildings, leases and land, employing millions in the process and regulating construction. He picked up the nation's toolbox in 2011, inheriting a department riddled...

Tina Joemat-Pettersson

Tina Joemat-Pettersson

Things have gone from bad to worse for the Cabinet's 2009 darling. Two incriminating reports by the public protector later, the minister is now better known for her lavish spending habits at the taxpayer's expense and an uncomfortable relationship with the politically...

Trevor Manuel

Trevor Manuel

When we wrote Trevor Manuel's report card this time last year, we were sure of one thing: he would not be around for long. We confidently predicted that he would be out of politics by April. But, a year later, Manuel is still in his job and the question for us now is...

Yunus Carrim

Yunus Carrim

Grade: Too early to say When Yunus Carrim took up his position as minister of communications in July this year, he had big (or should we say expensive?) shoes to fill. As minister Dina Pule minced her way out of the department, she left the footprints of corruption,...