‘Underwhelming and lukewarm’, say opposition parties in reaction to Cabinet reshuffle

Published Mar 7, 2023


Johannesburg - “Underwhelming and lukewarm” are some of the words used by opposition parties who have reacted negatively to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s delayed Cabinet reshuffle, which was announced an hour later than expected on Monday evening.

Many have criticised Ramaphosa for lukewarm changes to his Cabinet, with ActionSA saying the president has once again chosen to prioritise ANC loyalties over the interests of South Africans.

Among the axed is Lindiwe Sisulu, who was replaced by Patricia de Lille as Minister of Tourism.

Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa was appointed as the country’s new Minister of Electricity, while Maropene Ramokgopa was appointed as Minister of Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation – another new ministry in the Presidency.

Sindisiwe Chikunga replaced Fikile Mbalula as Transport Minister, while Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma retained a Cabinet post after she was appointed as Minister for Women, Youth, and People with Disabilities. Zizi Kodwa has succeeded Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa, who finds himself in the cold.

“President Cyril Ramaphosa’s long-awaited Cabinet reshuffle is underwhelming at best, demonstrating the dearth of talent in the ruling party.

“The promised ‘New Dawn’ has been completely abandoned in the interest of political expediency, as evidenced by this recycling of the usual incompetence.

“President Ramaphosa’s decision to appoint Dr Kgosientso Ramokgopa as Electricity Minister after his disastrous time as the executive mayor of the City of Tshwane is evidence of just how seriously he takes the electricity crisis that has besieged the republic,” ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba said.

Paul Mashatile, who was recently sworn in as the new deputy president of South Africa, replaced David Mabuza, who officially resigned as an MP last week, with Noxolo Kiviet emerging as the new Minister of Public Service and Administration.

DA leader John Steenhuisen was equally critical of Ramaphosa’s newest changes, adding that a bloated Cabinet was not good for the country’s overstretched fiscus.

“President Ramaphosa’s announcement this evening of changes to his national Cabinet is less a reshuffle and more a gratuitous bloating. Contrary to a commitment made in 2019 to reduce the number of ministries in the South African national executive, he has chosen to augment his Cabinet by a further two ministries,” Steenhuisen said.

IFP’s Mkhuleko Hlengwa said the new Cabinet was a bag of mixed opportunities by a president who puts the interests of the ANC above those of the nation.

“It is apparent that internal ANC political considerations were more important in his outlook than the needs of the people of South Africa. As the IFP, we are not surprised and see this as a series of missed opportunities. What we have witnessed tonight is just a continuation of his super-bloated mega-Cabinet and the ongoing centralisation of power. Now the Presidency includes the president, the deputy president, no less than four ministers and multiple deputy ministers,” Hlengwa said.

Cosatu said it welcomed some of the changes made by Ramaphosa following widespread consultations with the tripartite alliance partners. Cosatu called on all the ministers to work with organised labour in ensuring that the deals of the Freedom Charter were realised.

“The sixth administration needs to understand that workers have had enough of the unfulfilled promise to implement the Freedom Charter. They demand a radical change in their socio-economic conditions and the creation of a powerful developmental state that intervenes decisively in strategic sectors of the economy. This requires a radical shift in economic policy and the full implementation of the Freedom Charter,” Cosatu said.

The Star