Tito Mboweni remains the Minister of Finance Picture: Sumaya Hisham/Reuters

JOHANNESBURG  - Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) said on Thursday it welcomed the continuity in the core economic ministries, especially in the finance portfolio, but said State-owned enterprises (SOEs) remained the greatest risk to public finances, especially Eskom. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday night announced a reduced Cabinet with 28 ministers, down from 36, but with 34 deputy ministers during a process he said was the "reconfiguration of national government".  

Finance minister Tito Mboweni and public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan were retained in their portfolios while economic development minister Ibrahim Patel was given more responsibility with trade and industry. 

Tanya Cohen, BUSA chief executive, said they were particularly encouraged that there will be continuity in the finance portfolio. 

Cohen said the organisation now expects this to signal that the government will make good on its promise to pursue a path of fiscal consolidation, address the state wage bill and hit the ground running on the work of getting back on a growth path. 

"We are encouraged by the reappointment of the finance minister. He has settled well into the role, and as the custodian of fiscal policy we believe that he will take us on the path of fiscal consolidation which is required. 

"We also think that the work on State-owned enterprises is now likely to be delivered given the reappointment of minister of state-owned enterprises."

Cohen also said they welcomed the gender parity and the introduction of young talent in the composition of Cabinet, but said they were hoping that the Cabinet would be more streamlined.

"The gender parity as well as the introduction of younger people into the Cabinet is welcomed, together with those more seasoned individuals who would bring the continuity required," she said.

"Unfortunately the Cabinet is not as compact as we had hoped it would be. That won't necessarily bring with it the efficiencies and the alignment as well as the savings we had hoped would come out of the new Cabinet." 

BUSA said it was studying the other key appointments to the economic and justice clusters, which it views as crucial in efforts to grow the economy, send a positive signal to the markets and restore the credibility and trust lost in the criminal justice system.

- African News Agency (ANA)