He went against the ANC’s tradition of acting after consultation and presented a complete list to the party’s top six as well as his ministers after they were all summoned to the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Thursday afternoon.
The new ministers and deputy ministers were sworn in on Friday night at the Presidential Guest House in Pretoria.
We take a look at the new cabinet ministers who find themselves in the eye of the storm over their appointments.
MALUSI GIGABA, 45
Minister of Finance
He is viewed by analysts as a Zuma loyalist and close to the Guptas. Born in Eshowe he attended Vryheid High, with academic qualifications in pedagogics and a master’s in social policy, he has no background in economics. Other cabinet positions he has held include minister of home affairs and minister of public enterprises and a stint as deputy minister of home affairs.
During his time at Public Enterprises, Eskom struggled to keep the lights on and SAA needed bailing out from the government. At Home Affairs, he angered the tourism industry by insisting on unabridged birth certificates for children travelling to and from the country. The clumsy enforcement of the regulation cost the country a great deal in lost tourism revenue.
He is a previous president of the ANC Youth League.
Gigaba replaces Pravin Gordhan.
FIKILE MBALULA, 45
Minister of Police
Known as a fun-loving, well-travelled sports minister, he has previously served as a deputy minister of police. Born in the Free State he has a master’s in economics. He is a previous secretary general and president of the ANC Youth League. Most recently, he presided over the country’s failed attempted to secure the 2022 Commonwealth Games to be hosted in Durban.
He replaces Nkosinathi Nhleko.
HLENGIWE MKHIZE, 65
Minister of Home Affairs
Has served as an MP since 2009. Briefly deputy minister for correctional services and more recently deputy minister of telecommunications and postal services.
She previously served as ambassador to the Netherlands. She is a founding member and trustee of the Children and Violence Trust.
She has a BA degree in psychology, social work and sociology (University of Zululand); BA Honours (psychology) and a master’s in clinical psychology from the University of Natal. She was a senior lecturer and researcher at Wits from 1990 until 1995.
Mkhize was a board member of the SA Prisoners Organisation for Human Rights from 1994 to 1995; a Truth and Reconciliation Commission commissioner, and chairperson of the reparations and rehabilitation committee from 1995 to 2003.
She has strong links with the embattled University of Zululand and has been chairwoman of the university’s council since 2005. She is on the executive of the ANC Women’s League.
Mkhize replaces Gigaba.
NKOSINATHI NHLEKO, 50
Minister of Public Works
A Zululander, he was born in Ndabayakhe and grew up in Matshana, near Richards Bay.
He holds a diploma in labour law from the Graduate Institute of Management and Technology. His professional career includes serving as the head of the special anti-corruption unit in the Department of Public Service and Administration, and as deputy manager for uMhlathuze Municipality.
He is the former regional commissioner for the Department of Correctional Services in KwaZulu-Natal. Nhleko was previously appointed director-general in the Department of Labour in 2011.
He has just vacated the hot seat as minister of police. Nhleko was widely mocked for his defence of the swimming pool at Nkandla as a fire pool. His term as police minister has been a disaster with courts regularly ruling against his appointments and firings.
Most recently, the Pretoria High Court ruled his appointment of General Berning Ntlemeza as head of the Hawks as unlawful.
Nhleko replaces Thulas Nxesi.
AYANDA DLODLO, 55
Minister of Communications
She was previously the deputy minister of public service and administration and previously served as an adviser to President Jacob Zuma, in 2009 and 2010.
She left South Africa at the age of 18 to join the ANC’s military wing Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) in Angola and received military intelligence training in Moscow in 1984 and 1985.
She later studied marine and shipping management in the UK.
Dlodlo returned to South Africa in 1994 and worked for Telkom, Portnet and Sanlam, holding various positions such as human resources, transport, strategic information and industrial relations.
She is a former secretary-general of the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans’ Association.
On her plate is the fast-tracking of the country’s severely delayed broadcasting digital migration to digital TV and sorting out the mess at the SABC with the firing of journalists with integrity, the illegal appointment of chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng and the establishment of a new board.
Dlodlo replaces Faith Muthambi.
THEMBELANI THULAS NXESI, 58
Minister of Sport and Recreation
He was previously the minister of public works who had to deal with the hot potato of the Nkandla saga. Opposition parties accused him of trying to mislead Parliament of the costs of President Jacob Zuma’s rural homestead. He has also served as the deputy minister of rural development and land reform.
Born in Matatiele, he holds a BA degree from the University of Fort Hare, obtained in 1983; a bachelor of education from the University of the Witwatersrand and a higher diploma in education from Unisa. He was a secretary-general of the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union. Prior to this, Nxesi was a teacher at Ikusasa Senior Secondary School in Tembisa.
Nxesi replaces Fikile Mbalula.
TOKOZILE XASA, 52
Minister of Tourism
She has been promoted from deputy minister, a post she has held since 2009.
Originally a teacher, Xasa became a councillor and mayor of the Kei District Council. She was a member of the provincial executive council of social development in the Eastern Cape between 2005 and 2009. She has served on the national executive of the ANC Women’s League.
Xasa holds a bachelor in public administration and psychology and a master’s in public administration.
Xasa replaces Derek Hanekom.
Minister of Public Service and Administration
Officials in her new department must be bracing themselves after watching her performance as minister of communications, where she was a disaster.
Fiercely loyal to President Jacob Zuma, she protected the illegally appointed SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng and interfered in the work of the broadcaster’s board.
She was an ANC whip on the communication portfolio committee and one of the seven ANC MPs who were nominated for the ad hoc committee to consider Zuma’s submissions on the public protector’s report on his Nkandla home.
She has been blamed for the country’s delay in moving from analogue to digital TV. Muthambi holds a BProc degree.
Muthambi replaces Ngoako Ramatlhodi.
Minister of Energy
This ministry is key to Zuma’s plans for the country to go for a nuclear build programme that critics warn will bankrupt the country. The former minister, Tina Joemat-Petterson, was fired for taking too long on the nuclear deal and for favouring renewable energy options.
Kubayi, a Zuma loyalist, was the ANC proportional representative from 2006 to 2009 in the City of Johannesburg and also the chairperson of portfolio committee on transport during the same period. She also served in the ANC Youth League as a provincial executive council (PEC) member in Gauteng. She read for a BA through Vista University from 1998 to 2000 and a project management diploma through Damelin in 2002. She also served as the chairperson of the portfolio committee of telecoms and postal services.
She replaces Tina Joemat- Petterson.
JOSEPH MASWANGANYI, 51
Minister of Transport
Not much is known about “Joe” as he is known. Born in Malamulele (Giyani), Limpopo, he trained as a teacher and has a BA from Unisa. He has long served in various portfolios in the Limpopo provincial executive.
Since 2015 he has served as a member of the committee on transport and the auditor-general in the National Assembly.
Maswanganyi replaces Dipuo Peters.