South Africa

THE SHUFFLE

Who is Sindisiwe Chikunga, the new transport minister replacing Fikile Mbalula?

Who is Sindisiwe Chikunga, the new transport minister replacing Fikile Mbalula?
New Minister of Transport Sindisiwe Chikunga. (Photo: Flickr)

Sindisiwe Chikunga replaces Fikile Mbalula as transport minister following Monday night’s Cabinet reshuffle by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The outgoing transport minister, Fikile Mbalula, said his replacement, Sindisiwe Chikunga, had “been given a chance” after many years. Chikunga was appointed as the new transport minister by President Cyril Ramaphosa during a Cabinet reshuffle on Monday night. 

Mbalula told journalists after the reshuffle that Chikunga had been around for a long time within her political party as well as in government. 

Chikunga had been deputy minister for transport twice since 2012. She was made deputy minister on 26 May 2014. Between 30 April 2019 and 5 August 2021, she was deputy minister of public service and administration. On 5 August 2021, she again became deputy minister of transport — until Monday’s reshuffle. 


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Chikunga has been a member of Parliament since 2004 and served as a party whip for the ANC during her time as an MP. 

According to the Transport Department, Chikunga holds a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Pretoria, a BA honours from Unisa, a diploma in midwifery, and a nursing science diploma from Edendale Nursing College. Chikunga is currently studying towards a master’s degree in political science. 

She takes over from Mbalula, who had to vacate his office due to his election as ANC secretary-general. Mbalula had already posted his farewell message to Twitter, soon after the expected announcement of his departure. 

Mbalula, in one of his last activities as a minister, during a visit to a train depot in Cape Town said he was leaving the job “highly motivated”. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: ‘Highly motivated’ Mbalula says all Cape Town railway lines will be fully operational by year-end

With Chikunga’s promotion, Lisa Mangcu will take over as deputy minister of transport. Mangcu had been part of the transport oversight committee in the National Assembly. Up until his appointment, he had been acting chairperson of the committee, taking over from Mosebenzi Zwane, who stepped aside from that responsibility. 

 

The pair will have to hit the ground running in trying to get public transport such as trains, buses and taxis running efficiently. 

In a statement, Good party Secretary-General Brett Herron said: “It would be nice to think that the new minister of transport, Sindisiwe Chikunga, will make a better fit of this critical position than her many recent predecessors, but by the time Chikunga settles into the position next year’s election will already be upon us.”  

During his speech, Ramaphosa said: “All members of the executive have been directed to focus on those agreed actions that will make a meaningful difference now … enable real progress within the next year and that will lay a foundation for a sustained recovery into the future.” DM

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  • JOHN TOWNSEND says:

    I know Transnet needs nursing back to health, but a Minister whose background in Nursing and children is surely not the right kind of nurse required.

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