Democratic Alliance (DA) leader, John Steenhuisen has expressed his party’s dissatisfaction with the government’s decision to withhold information from the public.
He said DA has already begun the process of appealing this decision, citing the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA).
Steenhuisen believes that the performance agreements signed by ministers should not only be made public but also the assessments of their performance.
He argues that this information is crucial for the public to hold elected officials accountable and ensure transparency and democracy.
According DA leader, in his 2020 State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Cyril Ramaphosa had promised to increase accountability and strengthen the capacity of the state.
He announced that performance agreements would be signed with all ministers, and these agreements would be made public.
However, Steenhuisen argues that the president’s refusal to release the results of the assessments is a contradiction of his initial commitment to reform the public service and uphold democratic values.
This act of public censorship not only disregards democracy and transparency but also prevents the public from measuring the performance of the government and taking necessary electoral action.
Steenhuisen sees this as a significant indictment on President Ramaphosa’s presidency.
He believes that the president’s refusal to make the assessment results public undermines his reputation as a reformer and his constitutional obligation to respect and uphold democratic values.
By censoring the public from accessing this information, the president is hindering the public’s ability to hold the government accountable and make informed decisions.
Steenhuisen emphasises that the performance of the South African government is information that rightfully belongs in the public domain and should be subject to scrutiny in line with the principles of democracy, transparency, and accountability.
According to Steenhuisen, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s refusal to make the results of ministerial performance assessments public is a clear indication of his disregard for democracy and transparency.
This act of censorship contradicts his initial commitment to reform the state and the public service. Steenhuisen believes that the President’s job is to be transparent with the public and not to protect the reputations of his ministers.
He also points out that President Ramaphosa’s promise to conduct lifestyle audits on Members of the National Executive has not been fulfilled, which is yet another lie to the South African people.
Steenhuisen argues that President Ramaphosa’s decision paralysis has only caused more damage to South Africa’s investor confidence, economy, and society.
“As the people continue to suffer under the failure and collapse of government at the hands of the ANC, it is only fair that they be allowed to judge the performance of their government for themselves.”
Steenhuisen said DA is willing to go to court if necessary to obtain the performance assessments of South Africa’s national ministers, as he believes that the people should not be deprived of transparency in their government.