Helen Zille, the leader of the Democratic Alliance, gives President Jacob Zuma nine out ten for charm, but only one out of ten for his defence of the constitution. So his overall rating in the eyes of the DA is three out of ten.

It’s that time of the year when arbitrary judgments are made by political parties and the media on the individual performances of our rulers. And the judgements are invariably harsh. Delivering her party’s verdicts on Thursday, Ms Zille admitted that giving a minister a high mark might be considered as career limiting, so she has to be careful. But she has not held back – giving Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan a solid 8½ for example.

The scores are initially given by the party’s spokespeople on the various portfolio committees in Parliament, balanced with a score allocated to their spendthrift ways with public money and the reliability of their answers to Parliamentary questions, and then tinkered with by a three-person leadership troika consisting of Ms Zille herself, the leader of the party in Parliament, Athol Trollip, and the Chief Whip Ian Davidson.

The lowest-scoring ministers, both with 2½, are Membathisi Mdladlana the Labour Minister and Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya, who not only has the longest name of any minister, but also the longest title – Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities.

Mr Mdladlana gets marked down because although he is in his second term he “has still recorded no accomplishments to speak of”, according to Ms Zille. He is also not in favour with the DA because of his intention to abolish labour broking and because of the intemperate language he uses in his quest to do so.

“We will destroy millions of jobs by effectively criminalising temporary work,” Ms Zille said. The DA reckons that Ms Mayende-Sibiya has not risen to her challenge at all “tending to intervene in an ad hoc unco-ordinated manner”.

According to Ms Zille, “her failure to turn up at the first public hearing on the Domestic Violence Act spoke volumes”. Only eight of the 34 ministers get a score above six out of ten. The leader of the Freedom Front Plus, Pieter Mulder, is in a slightly more difficult position than Ms Zille, since he is a colleague of the individual ministers he would mark down, as deputy Agriculture Minister.

So he contents himself with rating the government under subjects dealt with rather than personally. He suggests that the government’s record on combating crime deserves a four. The administration of justice gets three. Local government earns a meagre two. Education gets five. Language and cultural rights – close to the FF+’s heart – gets four, and economic growth also four.

Source: (www.sowetan.co.za 20091210)

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