The Small Business Minister Lindiwe Zulu has delivered a slap in the face to….small business. By snubbing a Proudly SA Conference.
In an unwelcome reminder of the rudeness and arrogance oft displayed by Jacob Zuma and his team, her presence had been confirmed, her “keynote” adress was listed on the agenda, but the mini-Minister was nowhere to be seen, Wednesday, as her speaking slot arrived.
Instead, shortly after the shame-faced Proudly South African CEO Eustace Mashimbye had left the stage to make way for her, he had to to return and announce she couldn’t make it. I can’t be certain that he was among the last to know that she was ‘Leavin’ on a jet plane’, but it is possible.
Bye bye Sandton; hello Cape Town.
The consolation prize: a Deputy Director General, who had to explain that the mini-Minister had a Cabinet Committee meeting in CT, and had to assist the President in The National Assembly.
So now we know…..
But not so fast!
There was no detailed explanation of what was so pressing that it required her in the Mother City, and certainly it was difficult to comprehend why the President – dealing with hostile questions on land reform and Zuma’s legal bills – really needed the mini-Minister at all.
You may ask what the aim was of the Sandton conference she had shunned? Well, the mini-Minion who stood in for the mini-Minister explained that the Proudly SA Summit aims to educate and support SMEs.
“The NDP puts SMEs at the centre of economic development. We work with the private sector. We need to work together,” he proclaimed, explaining that the mini-Minister’s speech was a bit long, and he would’t be reading it all. Small mercies from mini-Minion.
So the mini-Minister for Small Business had been due to address and meet people from the world of small business. But no-way. No show.
Remember that she could have given a speech, then flown off to CT, still having time to keep an eye on Cyril, and that way she would have avoided disrespecting the (largely-government funded) Proudly SA and the many small-business delegates.
Zulu was unscathed in the last Caninet reshuffle, but there is a widespread expectation that the mini-Minister’s mini-Ministry is to be thrown in the mini-mincer.
It has been largely ineffective, a waste of public funds, and its functions could easily be absorbed into a grown-up government department – with no great impact on business.
Not having access to her diary, I have no idea whether this would have been her last function as a mini-Minister.
Having seen how she behaved, we can certainly hope so.