South Africa’s new President Cyril Ramaphosa has named his Cabinet, which includes some welcome comebacks such as two former Finance Ministers – Nhlanhla Nene and the affable stalwart Pravin Gordhan. However, he has also retained, but shuffled some names not so popular with the electorate and his critics. It is early days, but intense scrutiny of this Cabinet’s every move lies ahead.
When he announced the 32 “new” government officials on Monday 26 February, Ramaphosa emphasised that the much-anticipated reshuffle will “ensure a national government which is better equipped to implement the mandate of this administration”. But some early reactions show growing disapproval to some of the appointments, with many doubting if he has placed correct bolts and nuts in some of the top positions, to help drive his mantra – renewal and growth.
The reform-minded new leader of Africa’s biggest economy dropped 10 Ministers and three Deputy Ministers who served in his predecessor, Jacob Zuma’s government – but appointed the ex president’s wife and former African Union Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as Minister in the Presidency responsible for Planning and Monitoring. She takes over from Jeff Redebe, who has been moved to the Energy portfolio.
But some appointments are already setting some tongues wagging – including those of David “The Cat” Mabuza as Vice President and Bathabile Dlamini, the new Minister for Women who is also the ruling ANC’s Women’s league president. Mabuza, has had a number of serious allegations levelled against him for most part of in his political career more so as Premier of Mpumalanga province, while Dlamini’s tenure as Social Development Minister was, up to the time of this new appointment, marred by a social grants misappropriation debacle and amid other allegations including under performance. And also under attack is the reappointment of Nomvula Mokonyane as Minister of Communications, moving from Water and Sanitation. For sometime now Mokonyane has courted the local media but as one newspaper put it “for all the wrong reasons.” Many expected her to be on Ramaphosa’s chopping block.
They survived to the chagrin of people like King T’chala who tweeted: “Cyril looks defeated! This is a compromised cabinet. In what universe would you retain Bathabile Dlamini and Nomvula Mokonyane.”
An exasperated Tomi Rikhotso also tweeted: “Nomvula Mokonyane, Bathabile Dlamini and Malusi Gigaba still has [sic] their jobs, I’m annoyed !!”
However, perhaps the most exciting appointment is that of Nhlanhla Nene – who returns as Finance Minister, replacing the beleaguered Malusi Gigaba whom is still reeling from reactions to his 2018 Budget delivery last week, which included a decried 1% VAT increase. It was widely believed that Gigaba would be one of those to be shown the door in this reshuffle, but he has surprisingly survived the axing and is now back at his former office as Home Affairs Minister.
Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters welcomed Nene’s comeback tweeting: “…We welcome changes in finance; the appointment of Nhlanhla Nene is a reaffirmation of confidence in black and African leadership.”
Nene was controversially sacked by Zuma in 2015 to be replaced by (up until then) a relatively unknown and to some even an “inexperienced” backbencher Des van Rooyen – a move that saw the Rand go into a free-fall with negative consequences on the country’s economy.
Amid a national outcry Rooyen was quickly dropped and was replaced by the respected Pravin Gordhan. That appointment was also controversially short-lived. Gorhan has now returned into government as Minister of Public Enterprises to much approval.
Rooyen whom Zuma moved to the Ministry of Cooperative Governance has not been reappointed in the Ramaphosa Cabinet and his post went to Zweli Mkhize.
Also dropped were: Bongani Bongo (State Security), Joe Maswanganyi (Transport Minister), Lynne Brown (Public Enterprises) Mosebenzi Zwane (Mineral Resources), Fikile Mbalula (Police) D, avid Mahlobo (Energy), Hlengiwe Mkhize (Higher Education), Nathi Nhleko (Public Works) and Faith Muthambi (Public Service).
Only two Ministers from the Zuma government retained their posts – Minister of Small Business Development – Lindiwe Zulu and Senzeni Zokwana the Minister of Agriculture. Of the 32 names announced so far, 16 are women.
“In making these changes, I have been conscious of the need to balance continuity and stability with the need for renewal, economic recovery and accelerated transformation,” he said.
Cutting the Cabinet number, he added: “As indicated in the state of the nation address, we have begun a review of the configuration, size and number of national Ministries and Departments.
Below is the full list of the new South African Cabinet. Brackets indicate whom they have replaced:
Deputy President – David Mabuza
Minister of Finance – Nhlanhla Nene (Malusi Gigaba)
Deputy Minister of Finance: Mondli Gungubele (Sfiso Buthelezi)
Minister of Energy – Jeff Radebe (David Mahlobo)
Minister of State Security – Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba (Bongani Bongo)
Minister Public Enterprises: Pravin Gordan (Lynne Brown)
Minister of Home Affairs – Malusi Gigaba (Ayanda Dlodlo)
Minister of International Relations – Lindiwe Sisulu (Maite Nkoana-Mashabane)
Deputy Minister of International Relations – Regina Mhaule (Nomaindia Mfeketo)
Minister of Science and Technology – Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane (Naledi Pandor)
Minister of Public Works – Thulas Nxesi (Nathi Nhleko)
Minister of Water and Sanitation – Gugile Nkwinti (Nomvula Mokonyane)
Minister of Agriculture – Senzeni Zokwana (retained)
Deputy Minister of Agriculture – Sfiso Buthelezi (Bheki Cele)
Minister of Transport -Blade Nzimande (Joe Maswanganyi)
Minister of Sports – Toko Xasa (Thulas Nxesi)
Minister of Communications – Nomvula Mokonyane (Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane)
Deputy Minister of Communications – Pinkie Kekana (Tandi Mahambehlala)
Minister of Social Development – Susan Shabangu (Bathabile Dlamini)
Minister of Mineral Resources – Gwede Mantashe (Mosebenzi Zwane)
Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs – Zweli Mkhize (Des van Rooyen)
Minister of Police – Bheki Cele (Fikile Mbalula)
Minister of Higher Education – Naledi Pandor – (Hlengiwe Mkhize)
Minister of Human Settlements – Nomaindia Mfeketo (Lindiwe Sisulu)
Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation –
Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma (Jeff Radebe)
Minister of Small Business Development – Lindiwe Zulu (retained)
Deputy Minister of Small Business Development – Cassel Mathale ( Nomathemba November)
Minister of Public Service and Administration – Ayanda Dlodlo (Faith Muthambi)
Deputy Minister of Public Service and Administration – Chana Pilane-Majake (Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba)
Minister Rural Development – Maite Nkoana-Mashabane (Gugule Nkwiti)
Minister of Tourism: Darek Hanekom (Thoko Xasa)
Minister for Women and Disability in the Presidency – Bathabile Dlamini (Susan Shabangu)