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Excerpt from The Zuma Years: Richard Calland Puts Together His Ideal Cabinet of Women

The Zuma YearsIn this excerpt from The Zuma Years: South Africa’s Changing Face of Power published in the Mail & Guardian, Richard Calland has assembled his dream cabinet of women.

Calland asks, “Does the political leadership – well, the dominant male part of it, that is – really take gender equality and gender-based violence seriously enough?” The all-female cabinet he suggests would head up an “emergency government of national unity”, led by Mamphela Ramphele as president and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as deputy president.

Calland writes that perhaps this cabinet “would make the difference in tackling the grave social crisis that women confront on a daily basis.” Calland’s ideal cabinet maintains the ANC majority but also “draws from a net wider than current politicians to catch some of the ‘talents’ from fields such as business and civil society”.

Read the excerpt and watch the slideshow below:

Halfway through Women’s Month and it’s hard not to ask: Is the political establishment really listening? Does the political leadership – well, the dominant male part of it, that is – really take gender equality and gender-based violence seriously enough? The facts speak for themselves: South Africa faces an emergency. So, what if we were to declare it as such and appoint an emergency government of national unity, headed by an all-female Cabinet, with a female president at the helm? Perhaps that would make the difference in tackling the grave social crisis that women confront on a daily basis.

It is a large Cabinet in terms of numbers – just like the real-life one – and far larger than many others around the world. Arguably, it makes decision-making cumbersome and diffuses accountability, and would make it harder for the president to assert herself across such a wide range of portfolios. It is also expensive. Accordingly, in this “fantasy” government there are no deputy ministers. The buck stops with the minister and the minister alone.

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