Johannesburg - ANC deputy president David Mabuza has moved a step closer to being reappointed as deputy president of the country after being sworn in as an MP ahead of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Cabinet announcement.
Mabuza was sworn in as an MP by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng at the presidential guest house, Sefako Makgatho, in Pretoria on Tuesday. Ramaphosa witnessed the swearing-in.
Security and preparations for the swearing-in ceremony were handled by the Presidency. Mabuza was accompanied by his guards from the Presidential Protection Services who whisked him out of the guest house moments after Justice Mogoeng completed the proceedings.
The ceremony lasted less than 10 minutes, and afterwards Justice Mogoeng congratulated Mabuza. Moments later, Mabuza and Ramaphosa hugged each and almost in unison shouted “Siphelele manje” (We are a full team now).
They were referring to the fact that Mabuza was the last of the 400 members of Parliament to be sworn in. Ramaphosa and Mabuza did not address the media.
Presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko did not want to comment on who will take up Cabinet positions. As for the expectation that Mabuza will become deputy president, Diko said: “The swearing-in ceremony of former deputy president David Mabuza means that he is eligible to be appointed as deputy president of the country.
“All 400 members of Parliament are eligible,” she said.
However, Independent Media understands that Ramaphosa has yet to consult the ANC and its alliance partners about his final Cabinet choices, including the “imminent” appointment of Mabuza as deputy president.
An ANC insider told Independent Media that “ANC tradition suggests Mabuza should continue as deputy president of the Republic, but it is up to President Ramaphosa to make his final decision”.
Sources said the alliance partners had been consulted about the reconfiguration of the department “but not the warm bodies of Cabinet”. They were adamant that Ramaphosa would appoint between 25 and 26 ministers and most of the departments would be merged, including the Department of Tourism.
According to them, Tourism as a stand-alone ministry was severely affecting the fiscus. “The president is likely to merge Economic Development and Trade. “It is not clear how he intends to deal with the Education portfolio, which has a Basic Education and Higher Education Ministry.
“We are likely to have one ministry like in 1994m when Professor Sibusiso Bhengu was the minister of education,” one of the sources said.
“The delay I think has been the issue of DD (Mabuza) – which will have ramifications on other officials of the ANC such as Gwede Mantashe, although somewhat differently,” one of the sources said.
Last week, Mabuza asked for his swearing-in to be postponed to allow him to meet members of his party’s integrity commission after this body included him in a group of 22 people flagged as not fit to be members of Parliament.
He reportedly met the integrity commission on Friday, which paved the way for his swearing-in on Tuesday, but none of them came out to divulge details to the media.
Earlier on Tuesday, ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe issued a brief statement saying Mabuza and the integrity commission had met and “that such process has since been concluded”.
“The ANC commends the deputy president on the exemplary position he has taken and for putting the interests and integrity of the ANC first,” Mabe said. Integrity commission chairperson Tintswalo George Mashamba was not available to comment on the outcome of their meeting with Mabuza.
But it is understood that the commission had until last night to submit its final report to the ANC’s national executive committee. However, last night, ANC MP Zizi Kodwa confirmed that he had appeared before the integrity commission.
“My name was one of the names submitted to the commission,” he said. “Although the complaint has been withdrawn, I thought it was important to give my version to the commission,” Kodwa said