Ramaphosa at long last announces the make-up of his Cabinet after delay

Ramaphosa said the 11 parties which signed on to form the GNU would be bound by fundamental principles and would undertake a minimum programme of priorities. Picture: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS

Ramaphosa said the 11 parties which signed on to form the GNU would be bound by fundamental principles and would undertake a minimum programme of priorities. Picture: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS

Published Jul 1, 2024


Cape Town - Almost an hour late, President Cyril Ramaphosa at long last announced the make-up of his Cabinet more than two weeks after he was elected with bickering between the ANC and the DA the main stumbling block to the new executive.

Despite earlier speculation, particularly due to his proximity to corruption-accused businessman Edwin Sodi, Ramaphosa retained his Deputy President Paul Mashatile.

DA leader John Steenhuisen is now Agriculture Minister while his deputy Rosemary Nokuzola Capa (ANC) retains her position as deputy minister.

Ramaphosa said several ministries which had previously been combined had again to be split to accommodate the ANC’s Government of National Unity (GNU) partners, along with making the Cabinet more representative of South Africa’s demographics.

Land Reform and Rural Development Minister is PAC leader Mzwanele Nyhontso with his deputy being former Limpopo premier Stanley Mathabatha (ANC).

The DA’s Siviwe Gwarube becomes Basic Education Minister with Reginah Mhaule retaining her post as deputy minister.

Former DA spokesperson Solly Malatsi becomes Communications and Digital Technologies Minister with former Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele as his deputy.

Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa retains his position with the addition of the Energy portfolio. His deputy is the DA’s Samantha Graham.

IFP leader Velenkosini Hlabisa is the new Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister with his two deputies being Dickson Masemola and Zolile Burns Ncamashe.

Former Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga becomes Defence and Military Veterans Minister with her deputies being UDM leader Bantu Holomisa and South African National Civic Organisation’s KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Richard Mkhungo.

Blade Nzimande moves away from Higher Education and Training to become Science, Technology and Innovation Minister with his deputy Nomalungelo Gina, who had formerly been Trade, Industry and Economic Development deputy minister during the previous administration.

Mmamoloko Kubayi retains her position as Human Settlements Minister with Tandi Mahambehlala as her deputy.

Enoch Godongwana also retains his position as Finance Minister with his two deputies being David Masondo (ANC) and the DA’s Ashor Sarupen.

The DA’s Dion George becomes Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Minister with his deputies Narend Singh (IFP) and Bernice Swarts, who was previously Deputy Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure

After demanding that he be appointed as Home Affairs Minister, Patriotic Alliance leader Gayton McKenzie has been given the portfolio of Sport, Arts and Culture.

Instead, the DA’s Leon Schreiber has been appointed Home Affairs Minister.

These are some of the other appointments:

  • International Relations and Co-operation Minister Ronald Lamola
  • Mineral and Petroleum Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe
  • Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Thembi Nkadimeng
  • Police Minister Senzo Mchunu
  • Tourism Minister Patricia De Lille
  • Water and Sanitation Minister Pemmy Majodina
  • Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Parks Tau
  • Transport Minister Barbara Creecy.

Ramaphosa said the 11 parties which signed on to form the GNU would be bound by fundamental principles and would undertake a minimum programme of priorities.

“The partnership between the GNU parties is guided by a Statement of Intent, which outlines fundamental principles and a minimum programme of priorities,” said Ramaphosa.

He said the parties in the GNU had committed to respect South Africa’s Constitution, promote accountability and transparency in government, evidence-based decision-making, professionalism of the public service, promote accountable and transparent governance, evidence-based policy and decision-making, the professionalisation of the public service, integrity and good governance.

“None of the members of the National Executive has been appointed to serve the interests of a particular constituency, a particular party or a particular section of society,” said Ramaphosa.

The GNU coalition which got Ramaphosa elected also ensured that Jacob Zuma’s MK Party was kept out of power in KwaZulu-Natal where it got 45% of the vote, and also ensured that the ANC’s Panyaza Lesufi returned for his second term as Gauteng premier.

Senior leaders within the ANC were reportedly resistant to the DA’s demand that it take charge of portfolios it deemed crucial for economic transformation. This was particularly over a demand that the Trade and Industry Ministry be ceded to the DA.

Yesterday it was reported that the DA had relented on its demand to take charge of DTI, and would instead be getting the portfolio of Agriculture, which would now be split off from the Department of Land Reform.

Late last week it seemed that the talks between both the ANC and the DA had collapsed over this impasse, as the party’s federal executive chairperson, Helen Zille, said it had been willing to walk away from the GNU, leaving the ANC with only the option of the EFF or the MK Party to form a governing majority, propped up by smaller parties.

Sensing the DA might quit its governing agreement with the ANC, the EFF’s secretary-general Marshall Dlamini led a party delegation to meet with the ANC on Friday.

A subsequent statement from the EFF stated that it had much in common with the ANC, stating up front that it was committed to the rule of law and the supremacy of the Constitution. This was a nod to anxieties within the ANC, particularly the dominant faction within the party that neither the EFF nor MK Party had shown any commitment to the rule of law, and that the latter called for scrapping the Constitution as the country’s supreme law in favour of parliamentary supremacy.

The EFF’s only demand was that it could not go into any government alongside the DA and the Freedom Front Plus which it characterised as representing an “imperialist, counter-revolutionary, white supremacist agenda demonstrated by their rejection of progressive internationalism”, read a statement from the Red Berets.

But also on Friday, Ramaphosa and DA leader Steenhuisen met once again, where seemingly an agreement was reached on Cabinet appointments. On Sunday the DA federal executive met to discuss and resolve the issues which had almost caused it to collapse the GNU.

The delay to the announcement of the Cabinet, and the subsequent wrangling over its make-up, had also affected South Africa’s capital markets with the rand taking a battering from its highs of R18 to the US dollar two weeks ago when the GNU was formed.

Steenhuisen said: “The DA is proud to rise to the challenge, and take our place, for the very first time, at the seat of national government where we can introduce our track record of governance excellence, zero tolerance for corruption, and pragmatic policy-making based on outcome and not intent.”

“The mission to create an open opportunity society for all South Africans now becomes our sole focus as we work the levers of the highest level of government in our country,” said Steenhuisen.

Meanwhile, GOOD Party’s secretary-general Brett Herron said: “GOOD agreed to support the proposed Government of National Unity, not in the expectation of being rewarded with positions, but to contribute constructively to the country’s transition to a new era of power sharing. Our support for the GNU won’t come at the cost of muting our voice.”

Cape Argus