Pretoria - Barely two weeks into his presidency, Cyril Ramaphosa has made a break from the past, firing several ministers from his Cabinet associated with the Guptas and state capture while demoting some of his predecessor’s favourites.
Speculation around his future was confirmed last night when ANC Deputy President David Mabuza was appointed as Ramaphosa’s second-in-command.
Ramaphosa indicated, despite some expectation, that he would not be shrinking the size of his cabinet before a review has been completed.
“We will retain existing ministries and departments until that review is completed. Once it is completed, we will then be able to make the necessary announcements,” said Ramaphosa.
After being unceremoniously booted out from former president Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet in a midnight cabinet reshuffle in March last year, former finance minister Pravin Gordhan makes a triumphant return to take charge of the ministry of Public Enterprises.
Gordhan, a member of Parliament’s ad hoc committee probing state capture at public enterprises, has been critical of his predecessor, Lynne Brown, one of several former minister linked to the Gupta empire.
It’s second-time around for Nhlanhla Nene who is once again Finance Minister. Nene’s successor in 2017, Malusi Gigaba, was shifted from the finance portfolio back to Home Affairs.
The controversial Bathabile Dlamini, who has caused chaos during her run as social development minister, retains her cabinet position as Minister in the Presidency of Women and Children.
ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe is now Minister of Mineral Resources, where he will draw on his role as a former general-secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers.
One of Jacob Zuma’s fiercest critics and a strong supporter of Ramaphosa, Bheki Cele, has been rewarded with the position of Minister of Police.
He was previously the national police commissioner, but was sacked after the public protector found that he had acted unlawfully in signing a R500 million lease agreement for the police headquarters in Pretoria.
Another fierce critic of Zuma, Derek Hanekom, also makes a triumphant return to his previous portfolio as Tourism Minister after being booted out in March last year.
But of Zuma’s staunchest supporters, Nomvula Mokonyane has been moved from the Water and Sanitation portfolio to Communications, where she will be set the task of political oversight of the SABC and ensuring that South Africa’s long-delayed migration from analogue to digital television.
Former Minister in the Presidency tasked with Performance and Evaluation, Jeff Radebe,is the new Minister of Energy.
Former deputy minister of international affairs and co-operation Nomaindia Mfeketo takes over the Human Settlements’ portfolio from Lindiwe Sisulu, who is now Minister of International Relations and Co-operation.
Former minister of science and technology Naledi Pandor is now the Minister of Higher Education and Training.
Ayanda Dlodlo, who served a short term as communications minister, is now Minister of Public Service and Administration.
Former sports minister Thulas Nxesi is now Minister of Public Works, while Maite Nkoana-Mashabane takes over the portfolio of Rural Development and Land Reform.
One of president Jacob Zuma’s staunchest defenders during Parliament’s probe of the Nkandla debacle, Nkhensani Kubayi-Ngubane, is now Minister of Science and Technology.
Former minister in the presidency for women and children, Susan Shabangu, is now Minister of Social Development, while Tokozile Xasa takes over as Minister of Sports and Recreation.
Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba takes over from Bongani Bongo as Minister of State Security, while Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma takes over as Minister in the Presidency responsible for Monitoring and Evaluation.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane responded to the announcement on Twitter last night. “So VAT increase, same size of #Cabinet.
“It’s still the same ANC, just a new faction, headed by DD Mabuza as deputy has been sworn in.”
He did however have a message for the returning Finance Minister. “Welcome back Min Nene and wish you all the best in balancing our finances.”
IFP MP Narend Singh said he was disappointed that Ramaphosa had failed to reduce the size of his cabinet. He accused Ramaphosa of prioritising the ANC before the country
He also commended Ramaphosa on returning Nene, Hanekom and Gordhan to the cabinet.
Last night, before Ramaphosa made the announcement, it was postponed twice with acting presidency spokesperson Tyrone Seale confirming to journalists who had gathered at the Union Buildings that the delays were due to “consultations”.
Earlier in the evening outspoken police minister Fikile Mbalula let the cat out of the bag on his twitter account, telling his followers that his bags were “packed”, and changing his bio to the “former minister of police”, later changing it back to “Minister of Police” as South Africans awaited the announcement.
The ANC welcomed the new cabinet, indicating that Ramaphosa had consulted ANC leaders and the party’s Tripartite Alliance partners.
“Undoubtedly, this act of giving due regard to the resolutions of the African National Congress, in the exercise of the prerogative bestowed upon the President, lays a strong foundation for greater alignment and cooperation between the ANC and its cadres deployed in government,” said party spokesperson Pule Mabe