Agbiz said it was particularly pleased about the amalgamation of the ministry of agriculture with that of rural development and land reform and with the appointment of Thoko Didiza to head the portfolio.

JOHANNESBURG - Agricultural association Agbiz has applauded President Cyril Ramaphosa's new cabinet announced on Wednesday night, saying it shows a focus and emphasis on accelerated inclusive economic growth and improved service delivery and welcoming the reduction of ministries to 28 from 36.

Ramaphosa retained David Mabuza as his deputy, but kept his promise to increase the number of women, in line with his African National Congress's policy of 50/50 gender representation in the government.

"It is, however, the reduction of 36 ministries to 28 that is especially welcomed in order to cut costs, but also to ensure greater government coordination and efficiency," Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz) CEO Dr John Purchase said in a statement.

Agbiz said it was particularly pleased about the amalgamation of the ministry of agriculture with that of rural development and land reform and with the appointment of Thoko Didiza to head the portfolio.

"Her agriculture and land reform experience and knowledge will certainly stand her in good stead, and Agbiz looks forward to again working with her to grow the sector inclusively and dynamically," it said. "There are many challenges to address."

Purchase said maintaining Tito Mboweni as finance minister, Pravin Gordhan to oversee state-owned enterprises and Ebrahim Patel to lead the amalgamated trade and industry and economic development department was "certainly the correct decision and will ensure continuity, and bring stability and confidence to the markets".

"Agbiz looks forward to working closely with these ministries," he said.

Purchase said Ramaphosa had "correctly indicated that never before has there been as much expectation by all South Africans of government to deliver on inclusive economic growth and employment".

"Agbiz will continue to work constructively with government, but will also hold ministers accountable where government failures put out country at further risk," he added.

- African News Agency (ANA)