SA’s time to interrogate deputy president’s role, powers & relevance

SA’s time to interrogate deputy president’s role, powers & relevance

- Why is the deputy president not actively in the forefront of the country's efforts during the time of the Covid-19 pandemic?

- It seems it has become the norm for the deputy president to be reduced to a ceremonial role despite entrenched constitutional powers

- DD Mabuza chose to pursue political ambitions instead of using his constitutional mandate to lead the fight against Covid-19

- Did President Ramaphosa establish the NCCC structure to usurp the powers of his deputy?

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By Lwazi Nongauza - Freelance Journalist

Dually appointed in terms of section 91(4) of the Constitution, Head of Government Business (HGB), Deputy President David Mabuza, has more powers than the president and all ministers combined - especially during difficult times such as this disaster.

Almost four months into South Africa’s state of disaster due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there is no evidence that proves that Mabuza is implementing his constitutional assignment of leading or monitoring the government's Covid-19 fighting strategy.

Constitutional commentator, Professor Pierre De Vos, told the HGB is an extremely powerful constitutionally-established position whose role and relevance should not be tempered at any given time.

“In terms of section 91(4) of the Constitution, the HGB is the most senior political appointee into government and cabinet. Now, based on countless unconstitutional government actions during the fighting programme, I won’t be surprised if courts were to come up with a judgement that says any NCCC decision which was taken without authorisation by Mabuza is invalid. The HGB is a forever powerful and relevant role player in everything government is doing.’’
SA’s time to interrogate deputy president’s role, powers & relevance
South Africa's deputy president, David Mabuza. Image source: UGC
Source: Twitter

According to political analyst, Xolani Dube, HGB powers are supreme. Dube claims Ramaphosa used his academic background in law to establish the NCCC with an aim to destroy the powers and relevance of HGB, which Dube states is wrong.

In an interview with, Dube also said he agrees with the DA that David Mabuza is wrongfully using his position in some ANC factions to serve the interest of those ANC factions instead of the country

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"The coronavirus pandemic has brought internal ANC politics to the fore.
"The fact that in almost four months of South African state of disaster, in his capacity as the deputy president or Head of Government Business, Mabuza has only visited Free State (formerly led by Ace Magashule) and North West (formerly lead by Supra Mahumapelo) should be viewed as nothing more than a plot by him to strategically place himself in a favourable position to immediately take over when the ANC has finally recalled President Cyril Ramaphosa." said Dube.

When asked by the Mail & Guardian, the deputy president’s spokesperson Matshepo Seedat unwittingly admitted that Mabuza should be playing a more significant role than he is currently doing.

Seedat didn’t disclose why Mabuza did not implement his constitutional mandate.'s attempt to get clarity from Seedat about the deputy president’s understanding of his role, powers and relevance were unsuccessful.

If the current HGB cannot uphold his constitutional mandate or the president can circumvent such a powerful government constitutional statutory like the HGB body, it seems now is the right time to interrogate the role, powers, and relevance of the HGB.

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