Zondo Presides over light-hearted swearing in ceremony

Chief Justice Raymond Zondo administers the oath to Public Works Deputy Minister Sihle Zikalala at the swearing-in ceremony of ministers from his Government of National Unity Cabinet.

Chief Justice Raymond Zondo administers the oath to Public Works Deputy Minister Sihle Zikalala at the swearing-in ceremony of ministers from his Government of National Unity Cabinet.

Published Jul 6, 2024


The swearing in of 32 ministers and 43 deputy ministers on Wednesday, brought a series of light-hearted moments to the solemn ceremony.

Former minister of energy and mineral resources, Gwede Mantashe, who was sworn in a reconfigured mineral and petroleum portfolio, instead of vowing to protect the secrets of the state, said he would do everything to divulge all the secrets. This elicited laughter from the President and others in the room.

Former ANC Chief Whip, Pemmy Majodina, who was sworn in as the new minister of water and sanitation, struggled to pronounce the word “conscientiously”, much to the amusement of the Chief Justice and other members present.

However, Majodina’s never-say-die attitude won the day as she kept on trying to pronounce the tongue twister until she got it right.

All the new MPs took their oath of office to serve and protect the constitution and the people of South Africa during the ceremony presided over by Zondo.

Addressing the media after the ceremony, Ramaphosa said in spite of the challenges during tough negotiations with different political parties to form a government of national government (GNU), the new MPs were ready to serve South Africa and hit the ground running.

"It has been a very difficult and complicated process to get to this stage. Today offers us a fresh start for all of us as South Africans and this was a historic moment in constituting the executive of our country in the form of ministers and deputy ministers, who have assured me that they are going to work and make South Africa proud. We will not waste time. We will work very hard to take our country forward," Ramaphosa said.

The new-look executive features ministers and deputy ministers from the ANC, DA, Patriotic Alliance (PA), Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus), IFP, Good Party, Al-Jama Ah and UDM.

They all undertook to hold office as minister/deputy minister with honour and dignity; to be a true and faithful counsellor; not to divulge directly by or indirectly any secret matter entrusted to them; and to perform the functions of their office conscientiously and to the best of their ability.

With a 40% share of the vote under the power-sharing agreement, the ANC took 20 of the 32 ministerial positions, while the DA and smaller parties filled the remaining seats. This arrangement marked a significant shift in South African politics.

This time around, the cabinet boasts a mixture of old and young faces from a range of political parties belonging to the GNU. They include DA member Siviwe Gwarube (34) as basic education minister, the ANC's Nonceba Mhlauli (34), as deputy minister in the presidency, Ashor Sharupen (36) as deputy finance minister, and Zuko Godlimpi (32) as deputy minister for department of trade and industry.

There were also some returning faces to the Cabinet and deputy ministries including Sihle Zikalala, who will be serving as Deputy Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) after having served as Minister of that department during the sixth administration.

“As we continue this work, we do so with a steadfast commitment to put maximum efforts towards bettering the poor and work with all stakeholders.

Zikalala said in a statement: “Together, we must make relentless strides to address unemployment, poverty and inequality. I congratulate the new Minister of DPWI, Dean MacPherson, and wish him all the best in his new assignment and look forward to working with him.”

Director-General in the Presidency, Phindile Baleni, wished the leaders of the seventh administration well: “Congratulations to the new National Executive and the Deputy Ministers on your appointment. We wish you well in your duties and endeavours to create a better South Africa and a better world.”

Saturday Star

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