South Africa

THE SHUFFLE

New Cabinet gets thumbs up from Tripartite Alliance, while DA slams Ramaphosa’s ‘failure to show backbone’

New Cabinet gets thumbs up from Tripartite Alliance, while DA slams Ramaphosa’s ‘failure to show backbone’
SACP Secretary-General Solly Mapaila. (Photo: Gallo Images / Luba Lesolle) | DA leader John Steenhuisen. (Photo: Gallo Images / Darren Stewart) | Cosatu secretary Solly Phetoe. (Photo: Gallo Images / Sowetan / Tiro Ramatlhatse)

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced his reconfigured Cabinet from the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Monday night. While the ANC’s alliance partners welcomed the changes, the DA said it was merely a ‘batch of broken eggs’.

After more than an hour’s delay, President Cyril Ramaphosa finally announced his much-anticipated Cabinet reshuffle. He said the changes were intended to fill vacancies that had occurred in the executive and to direct the government more effectively towards the areas that require urgent and decisive action. 

Ramaphosa did not reduce his Cabinet, but added more members. Notably, he appointed three additional ministers to the Presidency including Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, who is responsible for electricity.   

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Here they are — the long-awaited changes to President Ramaphosa’s Cabinet”  

Alliance partners Cosatu and the SACP expressed support for the new Cabinet. 

SACP General Secretary Solly Mapaila was happy with the appointment of  Noxolo Kiviet as minister of public service and administration.

“She is an experienced comrade … We are looking forward to her stabilising the sector, engaging with the unions and making sure that we rejuvenate the public sector. That section is constitutive of the great success story of our liberation movement and we rely on it because it’s a critical factor of skills and a section that created what the bourgeois call middle strata,” said Mapaila. 

He said he was happy with the rest of the Cabinet, and that the new minister of electricity brings a wealth of experience and will hit the ground running. “He has a great background in particular project management. He used to be a CEO and a turnaround specialist.”  

Cosatu Deputy General Secretary Solly Phetoe echoed these sentiments and said the union federation believes in the ANC-led alliance to address the country’s challenges. 

“Following the ANC’s 56th national conference, we met with the new leadership and said one of the critical issues is to deal with the recovery of the economy. We think this new Cabinet, in particular, the appointment of Sputla [Ramokgopa]; we know him very well [and] the work he has been doing in the infrastructure sector and we think with the assistance of others, he will address the challenges.”  

The leader of the official opposition, the DA’s John Steenhuisen, slammed Ramaphosa’s revamped Cabinet as a “batch of broken eggs” which comprised those who had plunged the country into disaster. 

“Aside from these notable changes, or lack thereof, President Ramaphosa has merely moved around a batch of broken eggs… no expertise brought in from the private sector, no consequences for ministers who have failed dismally … no show of bravery and backbone by the President to rid his Cabinet of ministers who have repeatedly plunged South Africans into disaster.”  

Steenhuisen was also critical of the cost implications of the revamped Cabinet, arguing the ministers of electricity, and of planning, monitoring and evaluation would add R74-million to the public wage bill.   

“It is simply unfathomable that the President can push this cost on to the South African taxpayer while the nation languishes under sluggish economic growth, the highest unemployment rate in recent history and an electricity crisis that is shedding jobs at record numbers,” he said.   


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Greenpeace Africa’s climate and energy spokesperson, Thandile Chinyavanhu, said the new Cabinet “does not inspire confidence”, taking aim at Ramaphosa’s decision to retain Gwede Mantashe as mineral resources and energy minister and to appoint Ramokgopa as electricity minister.  

“Mantashe remains obsessed with fossil fuels which keep South Africa in the dark. Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, new minister of electricity in the Presidency, does not arrive at his new post with a clean record; in spite of his history of irregular expenditure costing the city of Tshwane billions of rands, he has been brought to the helm of the biggest crisis in South Africa today.”   

Chinyavanhu said Ramaphosa needed to clearly delineate the roles between the two ministers, to promote transparency and interdepartmental coordination, and to avoid interference and fragmented approaches to the country’s power crisis.  

ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba expressed disappointment at the retaining of the minister of police, Bheki Cele, and the minister of justice and correctional services, Ronald Lamola.  

“For a country to work, you need the rule of law. South Africa is known worldwide as the most violent society. The President never said anything about the minister of police going around as a spokesperson running from one crisis after the other not really having an opportunity to devise a plan to protect citizens. 

“Now look at our justice system, it’s almost a year now since the Zondo Commission [report was released] and there are no consequences for people who looted our country.”  

ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula said fired ministers Nathi Mthethwa, Lindiwe Sisulu and Maite Nkoana-Mashabane were informed on Monday evening that they would not be returning to the new Cabinet and accepted the decision.  

“They thanked the party because they know it’s a privilege to serve. I was once a minister of police and I was removed. Even those who are there must not relax, we will be watching them to ensure that they work for our people and deliver. Comrades understand that these things come and go, that is why they have accepted the decision.” DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • William Stucke says:

    Oh dear. the liberal use of the word “comrade” indicates that these people still have their minds stuck in 1960s ideology. When will they catch a wake-up? Never?

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