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23 April 2017 10:10 (South Africa)
Politics

No infighting in the Presidency. Oh, and Jessie Duarte just resigned

  • Branko Brkic
    branko3048 a ray
    Branko Brkic

    Brkic is the founder and editor of The Daily Maverick.

    He has edited magazines on business and politics, technology, and wildlife. He has also published fiction and non-fiction books, most of them in Serbian. Though he has never pretended to be a reporter, his wide knowledge of politics (especially in America), combined with his experiences in a disintegrating Yugoslavia, gives him an unusual outlook on events in South Africa.

    Despite the vowel-poor surname, he tells anyone who asks that he hails from Hyde Park, Johannesburg, having spent most of his adult life in South Africa.

    Recent columns:

  • Politics
duarte

Remember all those rumours about back-stabbing and office politics in the highest office of the land? All false. No truth to them whatsoever. None. By the way, did we mention the chief operations officer, Jessie Duarte, will be out the door before June? Totally unrelated, of course.

On Wednesday the Presidency announced that Jessie Duarte, its chief operations officer, has resigned and will be leaving her post at the end of May. To "pursue other interests and give more time to her political work for the African National Congress."

Funny, that. When the Sunday Times broke the story about Duarte's resignation at the end of February, including a copy of her apparent letter of resignation, the whole thing was denied. There are no divisions within the Presidency, we were told, no fights between her and Lakela Kaunda, who runs Zuma's private office and is reportedly the real power in the Presidency.

The report was alternately called a figment of the Sunday Times' imagination, or a poorly disguised attempt to sow dissent where none existed.

If it was the latter, it was a remarkably successful project. The Presidency is happy to say that Duarte was hugely important in stabilising an institution brought to its knees by infighting and jockeying for position as the Mbeki era drew to a close and Zuma's star rose. Now it won't say why she is leaving. But hey, at least we know it's not because of infighting. Because the Presidency said so.

Whether or not Duarte's ouster will end the squabbles, the Presidency remains staffed by a top management layer that is, at the kindest interpretation, grossly incompetent. And whether or not she is replaced by a more capable technocrat, it would take god-like powers to turn the institution around.

By Phillip de Wet

See also: Analysis: Presidency has no clothes

  • Branko Brkic
    branko3048 a ray
    Branko Brkic

    Brkic is the founder and editor of The Daily Maverick.

    He has edited magazines on business and politics, technology, and wildlife. He has also published fiction and non-fiction books, most of them in Serbian. Though he has never pretended to be a reporter, his wide knowledge of politics (especially in America), combined with his experiences in a disintegrating Yugoslavia, gives him an unusual outlook on events in South Africa.

    Despite the vowel-poor surname, he tells anyone who asks that he hails from Hyde Park, Johannesburg, having spent most of his adult life in South Africa.

    Recent columns:

  • Politics

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