South Africa

South Africa

Who’s Who of the Zuma’s new Cabinet

Who’s Who of the Zuma’s new Cabinet

President Jacob Zuma’s second term began in earnest on Sunday evening as he announced a new, rather swollen, Cabinet with 35 ministers. GREG NICOLSON looks at some of the characters and changes in Zuma’s juggling act between the quest for radical socio-economic change, inclusive growth and political realities/necessities.

Provincial Politics Goes National

David Makhura’s appointment as Gauteng Premier was a win for the provincial ANC last week over Zuma’s reported favourite for the post, the incumbent Nomvula Mokonyane. But it came at a price. Paul Mashatile, ANC Gauteng Chairman, was dropped from Cabinet and lost his Arts and Culture Ministry to former Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa. Mokonyane, meanwhile, is moving to Cape Town to head the Ministry of Water and Sanitation. Zuma, it seems, had one favour for Gauteng, where he’s been booed and where the ANC lost a large amount votes, and used it on Makhura.

The ANC’s Western Cape leader Marius Fransman also led an unsuccessful attempt to claw back votes in the province and is no longer in Cabinet. Zuma instead decided to give a deputy minister position to Fransman’s rival and former ANC Western Cape leader Mcebisi Skwatsha, who’s now one of the two Deputy Ministers for Rural Development and Land Reform. Fransman, however, decided before the elections that he would be going to the provincial legislature while Lynne Brown will be moving from there to Parliament. Brown, a former premier of Western Cape, will lead the important Ministry of Public Enterprises as Malusi Gigaba has been shifted to Home Affairs.

Brand New Heavies

Zuma split the communications portfolio in two and now there is both a Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services (similar to the old communications ministry) and a Minister of Communications. Before the appointments, leaks suggested Zuma wanted a “propaganda ministry” to improve government communication and South Africa’s image. Zuma said the new ministry “will be responsible for overarching communication policy and strategy, information dissemination and publicity as well as the branding of the country abroad.” He appointed Faith Muthambi as Communications Minister, and GCIS, the SABC, Brand SA, Icasa and the Media Development and Diversity Agency will be incorporated into the portfolio.

Muthambi, from Limpopo, has served on Parliament’s portfolio committee on communications as the ANC whip. She was also one of the ANC’s seven members on the ad hoc committee to consider the president’s response to the Public Protector’s Nkandla report. As municipal manager of Makhado Municipality, Muthambi faced various allegations of misspending public money.

Another newcomer is Lindiwe Zulu, appointed Minister of Small Business and Development. Zuma said the ministry was introduced because small business is “critical to economic development and transformation”. The ministry will be expected to help develop the economy and reduce unemployment by looking at some of the issues the broader economic departments might neglect. Zulu has been an international relations adviser to Zuma and heads ANC communications. She made headlines last year when she expressed doubt about Zimbabwe’s preparations for elections, drawing criticism from a furious Robert Mugabe.

Zuma has also chosen Senzeni Zokwana, former president of the National Union of Mineworkers, to take over from Tina Joemat-Pettersson as Minister of Agriculture, Forestries and Fisheries. (Joemat-Pettersson will serve as Energy Minister.) As Cosatu has been divided in support for Zuma, Zokwana and the NUM have been key allies.

While Zokwana goes into the woods, Ngoako Ramatlhodi, a former Limpopo premier, takes Susan Shabangu’s job as Minister of Mineral Resources. Previously earmarked for a top job in the justice system but never quite getting there, Ramatlhodi will have his work cut out for him. He starts his job during the marathon platinum strikes.

It might only be a Deputy Ministry, but Zuma has rewarded the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association for its strong support of the president. The organisation’s chair Kebby Maphatsoe will be Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans after the organisation defended Zuma before Mangaung, taking on the ANC Youth League, and more recently attacked the Public Protector’s Nkandla report.

Gone, Minister, Gone

Attention on Sunday night focused on new ministers in key posts, particularly Nhlanhla Nene in Finance, Nkosinathi Nhleko in Police and David Mahlobo in State Security, but there were many casualties from Zuma’s last Cabinet, with some ministers losing out after only short stints in power.

Lulu Xingwana didn’t get re-appointed after a dismal performance as Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, and previously as Minister of Arts and Culture. Yunus Carrim’s brief stint as Communications Minister came to an end after less than a year in the post. Likewise, Zuma decided not to include Connie September in the Cabinet after she took over in Human Settlements from Tokyo Sexwale last year (Lindiwe Sisulu is the new minister). Ben Martins, who served as Transport Minister then Energy Minister between 2012 and 2014, didn’t get another chance.

Sbu Ndebele, who was Minister of Correctional Services, was also dropped.

Marthinus van Schalkwyk, deadwood from the National Party, lost his Tourism Ministry after ten years to Derek Hanekom. Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Mulder, meanwhile, is no longer in Cabinet as Zuma decided not to appoint anyone from other parties.

The Survivors

Zuma is nothing if not forgiving of friends. Despite an adverse finding from the Public Protector into one of her department’s tenders and a list of other scandals, Tina Joemat-Pettersson was given the Ministry of Energy. Fikile Mbalula, who campaigned against the president ahead of the ANC’s Mangaung conference, then once he lost, made an about-turn and was vocal in his support of Zuma, was allowed to keep his job as Sports Minister. Angie Motshekga, the ANC Women’s League leader, who has managed to improve the overall matric pass rate but suffered through the Limpopo textbook scandal, is still Minister of Basic Education.

The Ministry of Women – which was previously called the Ministry of Women, Children and People with Disabilities – will be headed by Shabangu. The responsibility for children and people with disabilities would be taken up by the Department of Social Development

The Vexed

A number of the new appointments carry some, um, interesting baggage. Inkosi Patekile Holomisa, a former head of Contralesa, may have been appointed Deputy Labour Minister because of his ties to the Eastern Cape, which might help considering mineworkers, many from the region, have been problematic for government. In 2012, however, the ANC caucus was forced to distance itself from his comments that the “great majority” of the party doesn’t believe in promoting the rights of gays and lesbians.

Then there’s Mzwandile Masina, rewarded for heading the ANC Youth League task team and disbanding pretty much all of the structures and the remnants of Julius Malema’s reign with a post of DTI Deputy Minister. But he’ll have to hold his tongue. He has lashed out at Thuli Madonsela, called Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge a “hoe” and reportedly told a media briefing that Numsa’s Irvin Jim can “fok off”.

Former National Police Commissioner and ANC KwaZulu-Natal heavyweight Bheki Cele will be back on the scene, appointed Deputy Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister. Zuma decided to fire Cele in 2012 after the Public Protector found against him and a board of inquiry agreed he should be sacked over his role in multi-billion rand lease deals. DM

Photo: Paul Mashatile, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Fikile Mbalula, Tina Joemat-Petterson, Bheki Cele


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