LIVE FEED: President Cyril Ramaphosa announces changes to his Cabinet
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President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Thursday night make an announcement on changes to the national executive following days of speculation that a massive Cabinet shake-up was on the cards.
The president’s address will be broadcast and streamed at 8.30pm on Thursday.
Ramaphosa is also expected to announce Health Minister Zweli Mkhize’s resignation. Mkhize handed in his resignation on Thursday, weeks after he was placed on special leave over the Digital Vibes contract graft scandal linked to his department’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Implicated in the scandal is Mkhize’s long-time spokesperson Tahera Mather, and his former personal assistant Naadhira Mitha, who are believed to be the masterminds behind Digital Vibes.
Mather and Mitha have subsequently been accused by the company’s owner and director Radha Hariram of embezzling about R80m from the company, while Mkhize’s son, Dedani, and daughter-in-law, Sthoko Mkhize, have also been accused of benefiting extensively.
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In addition, talks of a cabinet reshuffle were fuelled against the background of mounting anger and pressure on Ramaphosa to act decisively against ministers within the country’s security cluster for the government’s catastrophic failures in pre-empting the unrest that rocked KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
Last week, Ramaphosa declined to be drawn into whether he would be replacing some of the ministers in the security cluster, following the apparent failure to foresee and manage the recent riots which left hundreds of people dead, and billions of rand lost through widespread looting and vandalism.
Ramaphosa has also had to appoint Khumbudzo Ntshavheni after the death of Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu earlier this year.
According to sources, shortly after the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday Ramaphosa informed close allies, including Cosatu, that he would meet them to discuss changes to his Cabinet.
The special urgent meeting with the ANC’s top six and alliance leaders is said to have taken place on Thursday and centred on discussing Ramaphosa’s preferred candidates for the reshuffle.
This is the first time Ramaphosa will be making significant changes to his Cabinet since he appointed his executive in 2019.