Following an unnerving stretch of hesitancy, President Cyril Ramaphosa has finally announced his ministerial Cabinet.
What was an undoubtedly agonising wait, particularly for those whose Cabinet aspirations hung in the balance, finally came to an end on Wednesday evening. The public and political reaction to Ramaphosa’s Cabinet announcement was, as expected, mixed.
The long wait is over…
Ramaphosa, who, following a particularly bruising yet
victorious electoral conference, was officially inaugurated as the president of
South Africa on 25 May, prolonged his long-awaited Cabinet announcement amid a barrage
of controversy and subversive speculation.
By law, the president, after being inaugurated, has just five days to take up office along with his selected ministers. Ramaphosa cut it fine, and speaking of cutting, he has trimmed eight ministries from his new cabinet, while merging together these 16 departments:
- Trade and industry combined with economic development.
- Higher education and training combined with science and technology.
- Enviromental affairs combined with forestry and fisheries.
- Agriculture combined with land reform and rural development.
- Mineral resources combined with energy.
- Human settlements combined with waste and sanitation.
- Sports and recreation combined with arts and culture.
Shortly after 20:00 on Wednesday night, the president
ascended to his podium at the Union Buildings in Tshwane. The broadcasted address,
with its purpose to officially announce the composition of the National Executive,
served as customary closure to the electoral encounter.
Ramaphosa’s Cabinet: Who made the cut
President of South Africa: Cyril Ramaphosa
Deputy President of South Africa: David Mabuza
Minister of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency: Jackson Mthembu
Minister of Women in the Presidency: Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.
Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural development: Thoko Didiza
Minister of Basic Education: Angie Motshekga
Minister of Constitutional Development: Ronald Lamola
Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs: Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
Minister of Defence and Military Veterans: Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula
Minister of Economic Development: Ebrahim Patel
Minister of Environmental Affairs and Forestry: Barbara Creasy
Minister of Employment and Labour: Thulas Nxesi
Minister of Finance: Tito Mboweni
Minister of Health: Zweli Mkhize
Minister of Higher Education and Training: Blade Nzimande
Minister of Home Affairs: Aaron Motsoaledi
Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation: Lindiwe Sisulu
Minister of International Relations and Cooperation: Naledi Pandor
Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy: Gwede Mantashe
Minister of Police: Bheki Cele
Minister of Public Enterprises: Pravin Gordhan
Minister of Public Service and Administration: Senzo Mchuno
Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure: Patricia de Lille
Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform: Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.
Minister of Small Business Development: Lindiwe Zulu
Minister of Social Development: Susan Shabangu
Minister of Sport and Recreation, Arts and Culture: Tokozile Xasa
Minister of State Security: Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba
Minister of Communications: Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams
Minister of Tourism: Khensani Kubayi-Ngubane
Minister of Transport: Fikile Mbalula
With South Africa’s sixth democratic parliament – both the
National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) – officially
sworn-in and the inauguration complete, the ministerial resolution completes
the trinity of state.
The final process was not, however, free of controversy. Widespread speculation, emboldened by claims of ‘leaked lists’ and spurious social media sleuthing, shrouded the impending announcement in uneasiness. Delays in the swearing-in of David Mabuza, who served as the deputy to both Ramaphosa and the nation prior to the electoral outing, did little to allay the dread.
Other African National Congress (ANC) cadres, who previously held ministerial positions under Ramaphosa’s reign, also got chopped from parliament. To top it all off, Pravin Gordhan – who has long been referred to as Ramaphosa’s right-hand man – was blasted by a Public Protector and, subsequently, came under scrutiny from the ANC’s electoral commission.
With the preceding discomfort and uncertainty now behind Ramaphosa, his cohorts and the nation, a new era of statesmanship emerges. This process of rejuvenation, both within the ruling party and South Africa, is expected to be fraught with similar feelings of discomposure as the ever-present plague of political factionalism threatens to manifest in the most tangible of manners.